What Kind Of Burger Do Patients Want?

truffle cheeseburger

Tuesday I had the opportunity to join the conversation with my fellow colleagues at #HCLDR. The topic was on: Speed in Healthcare, Do We Really Need It Now. (click for original post)

I really enjoyed the dialogue because it focused on the change in healthcare, a balance shift in power, moving from the old world of “do as I say” to the new world of “listen to me, the patient.”

The one word that continued to be discussed was “FAST.” Fast has many meanings like quick, swiftly, rapid. It usually correlates to our ability to move, operate, function, of effect something in a period of time.

As an “insider” I remind myself not to jump to this same conclusion. Fast to a healthcare insider equals doing the same work just more quickly.

To patients, “fast” usually means something very different. Time is relevant. Time is based on the lens we view the world through and our perception.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 11.24.53 AM

As Linda (@EMRAnswers) said in her tweet above, “T3: I can get fast food anywhere. The key is to find quality, have options, and choose wisely (as w/food)”

As insiders we often want to be fast and jump to the “solution and answer(treatment)” immediately. We believe that is in the “best interest of the patient.”

Yet I have found that the more we talk to patients, it is not necessarily the speed in which we deliver the answers (treatment), but our ability to quickly, simply, and effectively communicate patient expectations and next steps in their care.

For $2 I can go to McDonald’s and get a cheeseburger. For $6 I can go to Five Guys and get a cheeseburger. For $25 I can go to Palena Cafe in Washington, D.C. and get a truffle cheeseburger.

Based on my expectations, what I value, and the amount of time I have at that moment will dictate which cheeseburger I purchase. Sometimes Palena is “fast” enough for me.

Time equals Trust; Trust equals Transparency ( in conversation); Transparency equals Transitions (manage the stops along the journey)

As healthcare insiders we cannot assume how patients define “fast.”

It is our job to design systems to meet the patients definition and to communicate simply, effectively, and in the context they choose.

Sometimes we deliver a truffle cheeseburger when all the patient expected was McDonald’s.

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek


2 responses to “What Kind Of Burger Do Patients Want?

  1. or some of us just want a well-done burger period. However that gets to us at whatever cost 🙂

  2. Fast makes me suspicious; much like the fast food analogy I suspect quality has been replaced by quantity as an end goal and that greater profit is the underlying motive. As a patient, I prefer slow but good. If I experience a long wait on the days I see my oncologist (usually the case), I kniw it’s because she is giving another patient the time they need and that she will do the same for me.

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