July 27, 2023
Episode 33: David Bennett of pCare answers the $1 million question: How can health systems keep patients for life?
For hospitals and health systems, the lifetime value of a patient is around $1 million. So why are more than half of U.S. hospitals operating with outdated tech that adds friction to the patient experience and increases the likelihood of losing that patient to a different system? David Bennett, CEO of pCare, joins Justin to discuss how technology, amenities, and basic bedside manner intersect in a patient’s care experience—and what consumers can do to stay informed and navigate the healthcare system more effectively.
Justin and David explore the overwhelming wealth of data available to healthcare consumers and how hospitals can take steps to improve patients’ experiences before they even walk in the door. Plus, they examine the ongoing shift from patient-centric to family-centric care, and Dave shares how his wife’s recent healthcare journey has changed how he views his job as a CEO working in the healthcare industry.
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“Definitively Speaking” is a Definitive Healthcare podcast series recorded and produced in Framingham, Massachusetts. To learn more about healthcare commercial intelligence, please visit us @definitivehc.com. Hello and welcome to another episode of “Definitively Speaking”, the podcast where we have data-driven conversations on the current state of healthcare. I’m Justin Steinman, Chief Marketing Officer at Definitive Healthcare and your host for this podcast. We’re living in a time when customer experience matters. From McDonald’s to Marriott, from Salesforce.com to IBM, from your local bank to your local movie theater, everyone seems to be laser focused on improving the customer experience, it’s the way to beat the competition. Healthcare and in particular, hospitals, are no different. While no one wants to be a consumer of a hospital, AKA a patient, the reality is that almost every single one of us will spend some time in a hospital at some point in our lives, and you deserve a good experience in that hospital. Now, if you’re like me, the last time you were in a hospital, you might have thought to yourself, “This could be so much better if only…” and that’s where today’s guest comes into play. Dave Bennett is CEO of pCare, an industry leader for interactive patient experience solutions. According to the pCare website, interactive patient experience solutions help healthcare providers engage, educate, and entertain patients across the care continuum. The pCare open platform integrates with existing EMR and EHR systems, patient portals, and mobile health applications to connect patients, families, and caregivers. pCare has been recognized by class research as best in class for interactive patient systems. Dave’s been around healthcare for a long time, serving in a variety of executive roles at places like VieMed, Getwell Network, and StayWell, so I’m sure I’ll have an informed perspective on a variety of issues facing the healthcare industry today. Dave, welcome to “Definitively Speaking”. We’re happy to have you.
Hey, Justin. Thanks. Looking forward to talking with you today.
Great. All right. Let’s get started with what I hope is an easy question for you. What’s wrong with the patient experience at hospitals today?
That’s a good question and certainly almost a loaded question. I think there’s a lot that really is to be desired with the way that we engage and interact with patients. It’s really not an overly consumer patient-friendly environment in many cases. So I think people really need to have a better understanding of what to expect and then really what the outcomes are gonna be. So I think that that’s a big area. It’s a lot of lack of information in some cases.
Got it. And so it’s a lack of information. A lack of information for the patient, for the family, for who?
I think it’s primarily the family members and the patients. And I will tell you, I look at this from a personal experience standpoint nowadays, having actually had my wife go through a very serious illness recently and actually being the caregiver. So I think the lack of information and better understanding of where you are in your healthcare journey, what I face, what I need to do, those are areas that offer huge opportunities for improvement overall on the patient experience side of the house.
Got it. So how does an interactive patient experience solution kind of address that information disparity?
Sure. If you think about what we do, we really focus on one leg of your healthcare journey. We’re primarily on the inpatient side of the equation, meaning that our solution sits in the patient room and actually interacts directly with the patient and the guests or family members that might be present. So the way that it really works is it’s designed to do both engage as well as present a lot of information related to why the patient’s in the hospital, what they can expect. It also helps facilitate doing things like everything from meal ordering all the way down to more personalized things such as the ability to entertain the patient or the visitor, be able to watch movies, ask questions through an interactive system that actually leverages the TV to do that as well as I said, present other information about what might be scheduled that day for the patient. So both the family members, the guests and the patient know what they can expect during their day while they’re in the hospital.
So are you automated, I mean, obviously people have ordering meals in hospitals as long as people have been in hospitals. And there’s generally been that TV with like three channels in the top right corner of your room. Are you automating what was kind of a manual process and then are you bringing it to like my iPad if I’m a patient when I check in?
Yeah, we’re actually automating the process and we are to some extent, bringing it to people’s mobile devices. Obviously the whole concept of bring your own device is very big. So we have solutions that allow patients and family members to bring their own device, but we are automating a lot of processes that are still manual in hospitals. You’d be surprised at the number of hospitals that still hand out a menu to the patient and a sheet that has to be checked off and filled in manually and then is passed back to dietary services where it’s processed and ordered. So things like that, we’re automating, also things that are very simple. So for instance, traditionally if my room was dirty or I needed something specific, I might use the nurse call button and click that. And unfortunately, what it does is it might be calling the nurse or somebody on the clinical staff to respond to a need that the patient has. We have intelligent routing capabilities that actually would send that message to housekeeping or others so that we’re not burdening the clinical staff, the nurse or the clerk up at the nursing station to respond back, but the actual department or responsible party to respond back. So simple things like that, we have the ability to automate and make it much more seamless and actually connect the appropriate parties with the patient or the family member to deliver those services.
You’re making it sound like though, like a lot of these hospitals are operating in the dark ages. I mean, filling out a paper menu, checking a box and someone walking it back to dietary services. Are hospitals really that outdated in their technology?
It is interesting. Healthcare in general, by the nature of it, do no harm. We’re very conservative with the adoption of technologies. So if you really were to look at where we’re at on the technology adoption spectrum, we’re really lagging behind in many areas. So some of that has been accelerated tremendously during the COVID pandemic, such things as digital check-in, the digital front door, those things were accelerated, telemedicine. The same hold true holds true for a lot of the inpatient opportunities here with patients. And yeah, like I said, you’d be surprised a number of organizations, I would venture to guess that the vast majority still provide paper menus or menus and the patient selects a meal through manual processes. These still continue, so they hold great opportunities to basically digitize and improve those sort of experiences for sure. But yeah, they still do that all the way down to whiteboards, which are manually, a nurse might walk up there, write her name of the shift that she’s on, and maybe the three or four to do things that you have to do today. Yeah, that’s still written in most cases by a caregiver on a whiteboard that is wiped off with an easy eraser, more or less, versus digitized and pushing that information real time to the patient or the family member.
You’re saying the majority, so there are 6,129 hospitals in the United States according to the American Hospital Association. Are you telling me that 3,100 of them are walking papers to order?
Yep. I am telling you that.
Wow. Oh my god, that is absolutely crazy. So why are these hospitals so far behind in their technology adoption? I get that they’re conservative, but this isn’t really putting patient health at risk, automating your food ordering, it seems like there’s just a ton of waste there.
I think it’s a number of factors. I think over the past decade, the prioritization for technology adoption has been driven by a couple of factors, and unfortunately some of those, and the largest one that we should be aware of has been the adoption of electronic medical record systems. The EMR systems are very, very costly systems. Frankly, over the last decade, they have sucked the oxygen right out of the room because of the cost, the technology burden, the resources that were needed to implement those. And as a result, a lot of other things basically took second place to that. And some of the costs to do this are absolutely breathtaking, you’re talking about organizations spending upwards of 600-$700 million for large organizations to deploy an electronic medical record system, and that doesn’t even account the ongoing cost to maintain and run those. Those are just phenomenally, incredibly large numbers for any organization to consume. Even smaller size organizations and hospitals that are still talking 20, 30, $40 million to deploy an electronic medical record system. As a result, those things took precedent because not only did they impact clinical care potentially, but let’s be frank, the EMR also becomes a tool that was really being driven by revenue. It documents billing, it allows the organization to send out bills, it helps them recover the money that’s needed to provide care. So as a result, things that really focused on the patient experience were really taken second place when it came to digital interactions. That of course now over the past several years has percolated up to a higher level because organizations have said, “We’re not really succeeding on the patient engagement, patient satisfaction front.” And these technologies really hold future to promising, better engagement, better satisfaction, basically better productivity. So I do think as organizations have taken their second breath now that they’ve deployed these large EMR systems, now they’re basically looking at, we really gotta focus on patient satisfaction. I will tell you one last thing that’s a big driver is we have become much more consumer driven on healthcare, meaning that healthcare customers and patients, now that we pay more out of our own pocket, both in deductibles as well as other areas, consumers have become much more savvy when it comes to shopping for healthcare. As you’re well aware, the federal governments put these initiatives to post what it cost to go get a knee replacement or hip replacement, so consumers are much more savvy at shopping for healthcare. So not only are they looking for costs as a burden, like where am I gonna get a better cost and pay less, but where am I gonna get better services? Where are hospitals ranking higher with patient satisfaction? So as a result, organizations are much more focused today than they were 10 years ago on these sort of metrics as well.
So that’s a really interesting question, lemme push you a little bit there. Do you think people are shopping for their knee replacement based on the quality of care that the doctor delivers in the hospital or whether they’re gonna get a good meal and their hospital room is gonna be private and large? How are they making that staggering decision?
I think most consumers are really relying on, they wanna get a good doctor and they want a good quality outcome. It’d be naive for me to tell you that they’re focused on who’s got a private chef in the organization. But I do think what will happen is if you’re in an area where the others are comparable, hey, I see this organization, I’ve got the four star rating for orthopedic surgery, this place does as well, my doctor practices here or there. I think that little things all of a sudden start to play factors in swaying them. Like, Hey, is this a brand new facility? What’s it like? What are the amenities like? What are patients saying it’s about? Some of that all boils down not only to having great doctors, but great nurses. Like if the nursing care and the comments back are, “It was horrible to be a patient in there. The nurses were cruel and didn’t really pay attention to me,” then it might be like, man, I’m gonna have a world class doctor, but if I’ve gotta be in there for five or six days and the nursing care is that bad, is that really the place for me to be? So I think people are weighing a little bit more of this, and I will tell you that also what’s happening is, and I think that you probably are experiencing this too, is the population ages. Many of us that are baby boomers or others are also intricately involved with the care of our aging parents and family members. So I often find myself in the middle of helping them make decisions. So I also am probably looking at things a little bit differently and saying, “Hey, looking at this organization, they’ve got really great reviews here. Looking at their Leapfrog reviews, they’ve got a reduced rate as far as hospital acquired infections,” particularly as people in healthcare that understand this and there’s more factors that may weigh upon the reason that we select one provider over another. I do think it’s being more informed consumers what’s becoming much more important for people at the end of the day.
So how does the consumer become more informed? So if I’m gonna go on vacation, I go to TripAdvisor and I read what everybody’s written about the hotel I wanna stay at. If I’m looking at a restaurant, I’m gonna go to Yelp and I’m gonna see that out. If I’m going to the hospital, I’m frankly going wherever my doctor tells me to go. Are there like websites and people ranking and organizations like saying this is the best for patient experience?
Sure. There actually are. So I will tell you a couple of things. So there are organizations out there, the federal government for hospital compare, for instance, publishes updates related around several metrics around quality and patient satisfaction. Anybody can go on to those sites, the hospitalcompare.gov site and look at those ratings. Those are a snapshot. Really good organizations are now publishing their Press Ganey and other patient satisfaction comments. So some very early organizations like the University of Utah, I was out in Salt Lake City many, many years ago, were actually publishing the comments that patients reported back through patient satisfaction surveys upon post discharge that rank the organization, commented about physicians. So organizations are becoming much more transparent and providing that information out there. And then of course there are the other sites that you can go to, whether or not it’s a WebMD, a Healthgrades, organizations like that that actually publish patient comments and feedback related to doctor, care, or an organization. So the amount of data that’s out there is evolving tremendously and it’s much more open. Those organizations that are more than happy to share that are really out front in many regards because again, they’re like, “We’re gonna show you the good, the bad and the ugly, but we’re proud of where we are on this.” And then again, there are other organizations like US News & World Report that people turn to look at hospital scores and ranking. That’s somewhat controversial because obviously, hospitals more recently haven’t liked the way that those grades have come out and argued that they’re not really representative of that. But there’s a myriad of data out there. And I think the big thing is how do consumers consume all that, digest that down, social media as you know, hospitals and healthcare systems now through Facebook and other sites, there’s a lot of things being posted. I think the real challenge for consumers frankly, is how do you digest that and make sense of it all, and still make a good choice here at the end of the day?
So you’re my expert here today. How does the consumer make sense of it all, make a good choice at the end of the day?
I tell you, that’s a very good question. And I will tell you, as I mentioned a little earlier for me, I kid people, I tell people, back in September I was promoted, “I got a job beyond being the CEO of pCare, I became the chief patient advocate officer for my wife.” My wife was diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer unfortunately back in September. So I had to go down that route of becoming not only a patient advocate, but also a consumer of healthcare. So like others, I began a journey of trying to locate the best possible care for my wife. And that led me to go visit a number of organizations, some of the top cancer centers here in the United States. And I think that my journey led me down a couple things: one is it let me consume all the available content where people rank these organizations, but also one of the things that’s most critical when you select an organization is you as a consumer and a family member have to be comfortable with the people that are taking care of you. So not only do you wanna know that the organization’s the best or top ranked for that particular type of care, but if at all possible, you should sit down and interview the doctors. You should meet them, whether or not it’s via video conference, or in my case, flying out and sitting down with them, having them evaluate you when that’s possible, and in some cases that’s not and actually asking questions about your care. They’re gonna be the people that are gonna guide you. There’s gotta be a high level of trust between them. And again, nobody is a healthcare expert. I’m not an expert on ovarian cancer, but I could tell you I learned a tremendous amount both from interviewing people like you interviewing me, going out and talking to physicians and other healthcare givers but also going online and using other resources related to that. And also looking at things like the organization that we were gonna go to have surgery. What was it like? Do they have the right team there? How many surgeries have they done related to this? What are their outcomes? Those are all questions that consumers should prepare to go out and ask. And again, remember that it doesn’t just stop with the surgeon taking care of you or the physician, it’s a team approach. What are the nurses like in the organization? What technology do they have in place that are gonna allow me to better communicate with the organization? What things can they simplify? How can they help navigate the complexities of my healthcare journey? All those things you should ask as a wise consumer, just like if you were gonna go buy a house. It’s no different than you asking the people that own the house, potentially the neighbors, the realtor, around the comps, driving around the neighborhood, going in and looking at how things work, the shopping centers close by. You should do all of that, particularly as it relates to your healthcare, because there are many things that are gonna be absolutely critical, particularly on complex disorders and treatments. And you as a consumer should take the initiative to do all of those things when at all possible. Sometimes that’s not possible, but if you have that luxury, I would strongly suggest that you do it. And that there’s nothing wrong with asking other people beyond just the doctor that may be taking care of you, to go seek advice outside and ask others. An informed consumer looks at multiple options as well.
So there’s a lot to unpack there. I wanna get there in one second. First, I wanna ask how your wife is now?
I’m very fortunate. In May, we got the good news that my wife had no evidence of disease after undergoing chemotherapy and surgery. Unfortunately, you’re never cured from cancer. But that’s where we want to be, which tells me that I believe we made the right choices. We had a phenomenal clinical team, a absolutely terrific team of doctors and surgeons that got us to where we wanted to be. So we’re at the best place that we could be on this part of our journey through healthcare.
So that’s great to hear and I’m really thrilled for you and congratulations. I’m happy for both you and your wife. So now I wanna go back and unpack some of the stuff that you said because you compare going shopping for care like to buying a house, and I would say kind of two things. Number one, the majority of people out there, the large majority probably don’t have the access to resources that you have as the CEO of a healthcare company both in terms of financially and also frankly in terms of your knowledge of the space. You know the questions asked, you’ve been doing this, you probably know a lot of people at the healthcare industry. And then you said it’s like buying a house. Well, when I bought my house, I had a real estate agent advising me, a buyer’s agent who knew like what questions to ask on my behalf. And then I hired a home inspector who knew all the stuff about like the boiler system and the heating. I mean stuff, I have no idea but I wanted someone to say, “Yeah, Justin, your heating system’s not gonna explode. You can buy this house.” So how do you solve this? You walked through a lot of very complicated stuff there. These are really tough questions. How does the average consumer navigate this?
I will tell you something that’s amazing about healthcare, there are opportunities that anybody can take advantage of without a tremendous understanding of healthcare. And you’re right, again, I knew nothing about ovarian cancer, but I took the time to get on and learn as much about it. I got on the YouTube, watched videos of physicians talking about treatments and not everybody will understand all that. But made some simple decisions based upon the way people talk, their competence level, things like that. One of the things that I have learned about physicians in general and people that have passion about what they do is you will be surprised how many times out of the blue, I sent emails to a physician I never knew the individual, and the best of those somehow throughout their day, took the time to respond back to me. It might not have been that day, when I laid out, “Hey, my wife and I are undergoing this” because they are driven and compassionate about care. The reason that they’re a surgeon for ovarian cancer, for instance, is because they want to help people. They want to help you cure them. They knew nothing about me being the CEO of a healthcare company. To them, I was a human being that had a healthcare issue and they wanted to help me. And when I tell people, for instance, when I reached out to the head of ovarian cancer surgery at Sloan Kettering who knew nothing about me, and the gentleman texted me and said, “Do you have time for me to call you back and talk to you about this?” At that moment, he knew very little about me, but took the time coming outta surgery to reach out to me and talk to me. That’s one of many people like that that I have seen. And those are the physicians, simple encounter and level of compassion and humanity, tells you an awful lot about, is that somebody that you want to take care of you? Physicians are extremely busy people, but those that really are compassionate and want to play a major role are those people that you wanna seek out, and people that can find the time in their day to reach out to tell you, “Hey, I can help you with this.” Or they might not spend an hour talking to you, but the fact that they reached out and said, “Let me get you in touch with my staff,” they’re probably worth considering. And I do think that you will find those opportunities that present themselves. The other thing as you said, you may not be able to go and inspect and see how hospitals run, but the other thing is you will find all kinds of resources, some of ‘em good, some of ‘em bad through social media and others. I remember my wife reaching out and asking a bunch of people about this hospital she was gonna be staying at and receiving a pile of solicited responses back, some good and some bad, that ultimately help you weigh out like, “Man, that place, we don’t want to go there for the following. I keep hearing this over and over again.” Now mind you, a lot of people always are happy to tell you the bad thing about things and comment, some of us that are satisfied don’t always praise the great things that we saw and encountered. But I do think that there are mechanisms through today’s technology to gather a lot of that information. Also, friends and family are a fantastic resource for all of us. I think when you sit down and you talk to your friends and family and say, “Hey, this is what I’m going for, can you touch base and see if you know anybody that might have talked or knows this doctor or knows that facility?” Again, there are limitations on what we all can do, but as a consumer, you will be surprised reaching out to an organization. Many of these large centers have concierge services that are not designed for the rich and the wealthy and the famous, but are designed for you to pick up, they’re patient advocates. You can pick up the phone and say, “Hey, I would like to know about this. I’ve got this issue.” And they will connect you with the appropriate people at those organizations that can then have a conversation and maybe point you in the right direction or give you some advice. So there are resources out there that we all have access to, regardless of your means. And you are right, I got to do some things that most people wouldn’t do and that’s hop on a plane, go out and actually meet face to face to people. But I could tell you having helped others with this, that may not be for everybody, but with the ability of video teleconferencing, it’s not too difficult in many cases to get on and interact like you and I are with a physician or healthcare giver at another organization, which isn’t totally like being there, but there’s an awful lot that you can gather from people’s mannerisms, the way that they’re talking or engaging with you, that I would urge people to try to take full advantage of.
So it almost sounds like the home inspector, if you will, is working at the hospital in terms of these patient advocates and concierge services. Do I have that right?
They are. Even though they are employees of the organization, I tell you, they’re great resources. The other thing that people don’t think about too is even your insurance company in many cases is a great resource. Many of them have healthcare navigators, particularly for very serious diseases like cancer and others. And you have the ability to reach out to them and say, “Hey, our care coordinator that’s gonna be assigned to me, can I talk to them?” And even though they’re part of the healthcare or the payer in many cases, these people have worked with many, many organizations and are more than happy to share some of their experiences with you as well. And again, it’s one set of data points that you could take in and the trick is to assemble a lot of those data points to make a good decision.
This has been a really interesting kind of thread that we’ve gone down here, because we started off by talking about the patient experience in the hospital, but what I really feel like we’ve talked about is that the patient experience starts outside the hospital these days.
It truly does. I would tell you that you’re exactly right, everything starts outside when possible. There are gonna be times where somebody ends up having an unplanned heart attack and they end up in the hospital. But again, there’s a lot that can happen outside of the hospital and I would tell our listeners to think about this. I’m taking care of two very elderly parents, one in their early nineties and one in their early eighties. So I constantly think about things that we must prepare for as they get older and they deal with things. So I’m thinking about everything from, “Hey, is there a time where they’re gonna have to go into assisted living? Where is the best place potentially and the best doctors that I could help them manage their primary care needs?” So as we become this patient family-centered care and we have parents and others that we take care of, a lot of this is thinking beforehand and planning. While I don’t expect anybody to plan to get cancer, the reality is when you get that diagnosis, there are some things immediately that you can do to plan and make the right choices. And sometimes it’s not always, “I gotta go to surgery next week.” I could tell you my case, had I listened to what was told to me and gone to surgery with my wife, I would be not telling you that we have no evidence of disease today. I would’ve had a good surgeon, the plan that was laid out was nothing compared to what was ultimately laid out and conceived at a cancer center. So again, very serious things. It’s good to seek additional advice and look beyond your immediate caregivers in some cases, but you’re right, it begins outside the hospital. There are certain things that you need to think about that happen while you’re in the hospital and then things that need to happen post discharge from the hospital.
Interesting. And if on the other side of the table, if you’re a hospital executive listening to us today, we get a lot of folks like that listening to this podcast. It’s really clear that EMR, their return on investment, while it was expensive, theoretically it should improve clinical outcomes, it should improve quality outcomes, it should take make your hospital operate more efficiently. I think the jury’s still out whether that’s all happening, ‘cause based on some of the feedback you hear about EMR systems. But do you think investing in the patient experience as a hospital executive has a hard ROI and can be quantified?
It does. And I think the argument may be, is it really hard or not? But I do think this, some simple facts that have been shared. If you look at what the lifetime value of a patient is to a hospital healthcare system, lifetime value is approximately a million dollars. So if a patient goes in and has a absolutely horrible experience as an inpatient, the nursing care is horrible, the meals are horrible, things that may or may not necessarily impact the outcome, the patient may have an absolutely fabulous outcome, but the experience of getting to that outcome was less than stellar, they may say, “I’m not ever gonna go back to Main Street Hospital again because the nursing care was horrible. The nurses had a bad attitude. My room was crappy. Nothing seemed to work.” You’re gonna lose that patient. So as a hospital CEO or others, you’re gonna lose the potential of a million dollars that’s associated with that patient. So you have got to think about that this experience transcends not only the beginning but all the way through the experience, inpatient and discharge. So it’s imperative that you think about the experience and really satisfying the needs and improving upon that experience to maintain that relationship with the patient. For instance, I could tell you having a great relationship with the doctor is one thing, but you go in an organization and the nursing care is subpar because the nurses are traveling nurses or the nurses feel underappreciated and that transcends into the work environment, all of that is not a positive experience for the patient and may lend them to say, “Maybe we shouldn’t go to this hospital, let’s find another provider. And maybe my doctor practices here and maybe we need to find another doctor as well.” So I think that those are the arguments that that’s where the impact of the value is. The other thing is, look, patients share bad experiences in the hospital, right? They’re the ones that are reporting back through Press Ganey or NRC, these patient satisfaction data collection groups’ bad experiences. If consumers are gonna look at those experiences and read into it, that may impact whether or not they make a decision, particularly if they’re a new patient moving into a new area, whether or not they decide to even become a patient with a physician that practices within that organization as well.
So that’s really interesting. Who’s responsible then for the patient experience at the hospital? Are hospitals hiring a chief experience officer?
Yeah, so over the past decade, many organizations have moved to patient experience officers. And their executives within the organization or a chief patient experience officer, so that’s a position that’s been elevated significantly over the past decade. Another thing that’s also been in line with that, I would tell you that’s accelerated the adoption has been the adoption of these chief digital officers or chief digital transformation officers. And a lot of them have been focused on the patient experience. Not the issue because, hey, we digitized the medical record system, but as the chief digital officer, what else am I going to do? What digital technologies can we adopt that are gonna improve the overall patient experience within the organization? So now you have hand in hand where you have these two senior level executives that many times report up to the CEO and others that sit outside traditional CIO roles and others that are focused on patient experience, whether or not it’s digital transformation or whether or not it’s the actual experience such as meals and treatment of patients and engagement within the organization. So the healthcare systems have recognized that those are critical elements within the organization. So you see very successful organizations have hierarchies where they have those people playing key roles, reporting that are part of the C-suite, that are playing significant roles in helping to evolve or improve those areas.
Yeah, this has just been absolutely fascinating, as we really kind of meandered around the whole experience of a patient in the hospital. I got one last question for you here, because you’ve kind of used these terms interchangeably a little bit in the podcast, I don’t think they are interchangeable. You’ve talked about both patient-centered care and family-centered care today, what’s the difference? I’d actually never heard of family-centered care before we started talking about it today.
When I say patient-centric, that was pretty much the way things used to be. Everything was very much focused on the patient. What organizations have evolved to now is family-centric care because they realize that care is a team sport, that it involves more than just the patient. There’s the wellbeing of the family members during this journey and process, the need to have them involved. The best outcomes, particularly on complex care, chronic conditions, and that is to have a team approach and where their families become centered there. So organizations that not only focus on engaging in involving the family or the patient, but involve the family as part of that center care model are those that actually have better outcomes. And meaning that at the end of the day, if I’m getting you ready to be discharged from the hospital for your care, if I only spend it with you as the patient, that might be good but there’s gonna be elements of care that are lost: instructions, the condition, things that I need to think about. But by involving the team, meaning the rest of the family members, and making it truly family-centric, with the patient still at the center but the family surrounding the patient so it focuses on the needs of the family and the patient, the outcomes are gonna be better, satisfaction’s gonna be better, the understanding of what’s expected outside is all going to be improved significantly. We’ve done a terrific job at this, particularly in pediatric hospitals. Children’s hospitals have always focused on family-centric care because adults obviously are taking care of children and you need them. But as our parents and other members of our family age, they need more and more support around them, that’s the family. Even as we’ve realized, like in my case, when I think about my wife and all the journey that she had to undergo and where she was, whether or not she was not capable or not feeling good or whatever, I played a tremendous role as a family member helping coordinate patient appointments, reporting back problems with her where she wasn’t feeling good or complications to her healthcare team. That’s why patient and family-centered care is really critical to success. So I would tell you that while patient-centered is where we were, the future and where we are today is really what I would tell you is family-centered care. And when I say family, family can be extended beyond just the immediate relatives: it can be cousins, it could be neighbors, it could be those that are part of the patient’s journey and care to help them recover.
I think that’s a great place to end today, Dave. Thanks so much. I learned a lot. This was a really interesting topic. Thanks for your time today.
Yeah, thank you. I really appreciate talking to you today.
And for all our listeners out there, thank you for listening to “Definitively Speaking”, a Definitive Healthcare podcast. Please join me next time for conversation with Steve Casey, Managing Partner at Omni Healthcare Communications. Steve is an industry expert in medical affairs with more than 25 years of experience working inside and with companies to optimize the role that medical affairs can play in the development and commercialization of both drugs and medical devices. Steve and I’ll chat about the changing role of the medical affairs professional and why they’re struggling to demonstrate their value inside their companies. I bet that Steve may even have an idea or two on how these medical affairs professionals can better demonstrate that value. I hope you’ll join us. If you like what you’ve heard today, please remember to rate, review, and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. To learn more about how healthcare commercial intelligence can support your business, please follow us on Twitter @DefinitiveHC or visit us @definitivehc.com. Until next time, take care, stay healthy, and remember that patient experience matters.