As a former Patient Navigator, I often miss interacting with patients and hearing their stories. My opportunity to listen again came recently when I interviewed Mike—a 39-year-old colleague who had an unexpected heart attack a few months ago. In honor of Heart Health Month, I felt that his story was an important one to share.
His health scare changed him in many ways, but also gave him an opportunity to use his expertise as a User Experience Designer (UX) differently than he did before. He used it to take control of his own healthcare.
Mike reminds me of many patients I met while working for the American Cancer Society. More and more are no longer sitting and waiting for their healthcare team to deliver them information about their condition. Thanks in part to the web and new technologies, how patients access, share, and store information has changed dramatically.
To help improve his own patient experience, Mike researched, developed, and found tools that most of his healthcare team either didn’t know or didn’t think about. His course of action was helped by the fact that he is a UX designer—a designer whose job it is to figure out how to make different product (such as Web sites) easy and even fun for users. They also conduct needs assessments to understand who the user is, what their needs are, and why.
But clearly, not every patient has the knowledge, skills, or tools that a UX designer has. So even if patients want to become a more active participant in their care, there may be limits to what they can do. As a recent “Eye on FDA blog”, titled Patience Patients –are e-Patients Waiting for e-Docs? points out, as health professionals, we need to improve how we educate patients on the newest technologies and innovations. The responsibility is on us to keep up and be more knowledgeable than the patients we are responsible for serving.
Interested in learning about the tools that helped improve Mike’s patient experience? Read the 2nd part of this blog next week…
To learn more about American Heart Association’s interactive, technology-based resources, explore the links below: