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Provide a Human Centered Experience

Current healthcare reform and changes are an opportunity to evaluate a medical practice’s patient experience and refocus the goals of providing the patient’s needs with a human-centered experience. An evolving healthcare system is not only having the best physicians and medical support staff, but it is about providing health care needs that are human-centered focused.  The human-centered design healthcare system is the solution based approach that places the patient’s to create a solution or experience created for them. The concept is to understand not just the disease the patient is suffering from, but more importantly to know the people that you are trying to help, in other words, implementation of a healthcare solution designed from their perspective. Because this approach is very involved, there needs to be a thorough understanding of the patient as a whole. Consider issues that are relevant to the patient and even the community that the patient is involved in, take the time to discuss these with the patient and make sure that you can address the issues when providing the new healthcare regimen. Also, take the time to consider the patient’s overall health goals and mindset to provide the best services that will benefit them. Health care systems should think about how to provide their entire staff, including physicians and any medical support staff opportunities to refresh how their human-centered skills.

Patients want to develop a working relationship with their healthcare providers; they want to be involved and have a complete understanding of the health care decisions that are made for their lives. Increased demands on physicians to treat and see more patients per hour, leads to a decrease in valuable face to face time for patients, and an overall lack of human connection. Transparency and convenience are both issues that need to be addressed and reformed in current health care systems. 

Human Centered Healthcare Focus on Designing a Clinical and Treatment Experience

Most patients would prefer not to have healthcare experiences or interactions with physicians.  While it is impossible to avoid the medical experience altogether, this is an example of an area that can be turned into a human-centered experience.

Learn to streamline their time in the clinic from the beginning of the appointment.  Many patients are scheduling appointments in between their busy schedule, aim to have the front desk function as conveniently as possible. Have the support staff complete a walk through of the entire admit process from the patient's perspective. For example, can paperwork be converted to a digital process that ensures accuracy? Are you able to recognize the patients that walk in the door? Are you able to co incentivize patients that reschedule their next appointment or that arrive on time? All of these moments create and set a tone that the patient's time is valuable to the practice and will be foundational as the move forward with their time with the physician.

Learn to commit to better communicate with patients. Take the time to understand the mindset of the patient while giving them a care plan. This time is crucial to assist the patient to not just "get better" but develop a lifestyle that may minimize any future recurring events. During this period patients may seem anxious or upset with their current medical state. Now is a the moment to exercise empathy for the patient and their circumstances. Also, try to include their family and support system, most patients are part of an environment that helps take care of their needs. A patient should walk away feeling that not only have you considered their medical needs but how this outcome will impact their daily lives.

Remember, a patient should feel that they always have access to their physician should anything go awry. Take a moment to ensure to them that they can always reach out to you and you will respond in  a timely manner.

Human Centered Healthcare Focus on Designing a Better  Physical Environment in the Clinics

Consider creating a team that focuses on looking at the medical practice, the waiting room all from the patient’s experience and point of view. For example, sit the waiting room, walk down the halls, watch the interactions and encounters the front staff has with patients. Remember these changes do not always have to be very expensive or large, they can be something as simple, but that adds a special or unique touch to the patient’s time being spent in the office or hospital.
Here are few ideas that can be considered:

  1. Current or plenty of reading materials or activities in the waiting room. Patient’s typically have to wait to see the medical staff to assist them, while traditionally patients use the time to fill out necessary paperwork, this could be a great moment to help the patients feel valuable. Another fun idea is providing riddles or an easy puzzle for the patients to solve and enter a raffle for a small monetary gift card at the end of the month.
  2. Consider current seasonal state most patients are, if it is flu season, stock the waiting area with kleenex and have the trash emptied regularly.
  3. Take time to assess the aesthetic design is for the patients, have the areas where patients spend most of their time look organized, use furniture that is comfortable for them to wait in, and try to have accent walls painted in soothing colors, and all white environment feels very cold and isolating to the patient.
  4. Ensure that the patient’s room feels private, perhaps consider installing a whiteboard in the room of patients that are staying long term. Allowing for notes to be written or that they can see their personalized health care plan.

The main objective of the human-centered health care approach should be to understand and treat patients has a complete and whole human being. This treatment strategy means not looking at only test results but understanding their community, familial, and personal background to adjust or start a new treatment regimen. The human-centered approach is vital to creating a better healthcare system but most importantly a better health outcome for patients.


 Learn More
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Hiring Physician Assistants
Onboarding - Hiring Pearl #7
Extending the Offer - Hiring Pearl Step 6
Interviewing the Candidates - Hiring Pearl Step 4

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