March 1, 2014

Health Care Consumers

At re/code, Ed Park makes a simple observation about What Health Care Can Learn from Amazon. For Ed, the central issue is "consumer experience" and this paragraph captures his argument well.

The health care industry has been behind the tech curve as it relates to putting the consumer at the center of care. We’ve been building, buying and installing tools and software stacks that keep the hospital at the center of the health care universe — a center that must shift to the patient — philosophically and practically. We need to empower CIOs at leading health systems and hospitals to step out of and away from their siloed data centers — filled with servers, firewalls, backup tapes and lots of blinking lights — to embrace and plug in to open networks that can enable information to follow the patient anywhere. With the advent of accountable care organizations and the spirit of pay-for-performance, finally it seems there are emerging business models/efforts to put the patient at the center of care. The next step is to align our technology strategy with our new patient-centric mentality.

I saw the piece at Ideo's Flipboard site and was immediately tsken by the striking comparison to a non-health-care business. It put me in mind of Atul Gawande's fine piece at The New Yorker, drawing comparisons between health care and The Cheesecake Factory.

The invocation of customer service seems odd at first, but recalling the image I once saw of a group of doctors in a hospital room with their gaze fixed on a panel of monitors instead of the patient proves how right it is.