I recently watched a TED talk by Joseph Pine entitled ‘What Consumers Want’ (2004), where he talks about an “important change to the very fabric of a modern economy” and takes us through the evolution of ‘economic value’. The journey begins with a commodity-based economy, advances to a goods-based economy, and then progresses to a service-orientated economy. He points out that as a population we are moving past pairing economic value with services delivery, to regarding experiences as the “predominant economic offering”.
The term ‘Patient Experience’ is sometimes used in association with a patient’s satisfaction of their journey through a healthcare service, such as the NHS. This is indeed part of it, but what about the rest of the picture? And why is Patient Experience important to us?
Patients are increasingly becoming empowered users, medical consumers with complex personal tastes and needs. These users aren’t first and foremost patients; they are consumers and as a result they expect the same quality of experience when using a medical device as they do using a mobile phone.
We can therefore apply the same principles, tools and knowledge we have of designing great User Experiences to satisfy the preferences of this increasingly sophisticated medical consumer. Fundamentally, it’s about the interaction between a patient and all aspects of a medical device, service or manufacturer. Just like the User Experience, it is individual and as increased competition brings patients greater product choice, it provides that enormously powerful competitive edge.
An example of a product that gives more: iGB Star by Sanofi Aventis is a blood glucose meter that can be connected to the iPhone, not only can you take blood glucose readings, but the accompanying app from Sanofi enables you to track your readings over time (along with other useful functions). CC image courtesy Pearlsa on Flickr
From a frequent user (or patient) perspective, research has identified that people don’t want their condition to take over; they certainly don’t want it advertised, and they don’t want to think about it. Instead they want their treatment to be non-intrusive and fit seamlessly into their lives, whether at home, work, or on the go. They are looking for solutions to help minimise the impact of their condition on daily life. If we can create products and systems to be discrete, simple and convenient then we’ll answer these needs and enrich the patient experience.
Think about the stark difference between a pharmaceutical or medical manufacturer that doles out a product or service to meet your basic medical needs, and a one that provides a product or service that has been tailored with you in mind, that goes above and beyond ‘great service’ to make sure you have the best experience possible when you’re feeling the most vulnerable. Which would you prefer?
Posted by PDD
The last thing that inspired me: Design and Innovation.
My dream project: A project that makes a difference in the world.
My obsession: Develop successful, award-winning and world-first products and experiences.