Empathetic Innovations in Healthcare: The patient experience project: Session at 2012 NCIIA Conference

Jim Agutter at the University of Utah is looking at the healthcare system in a new way. When one goes into a hospital they enter a world full of confusion. Doctors and nurses seems to be speaking another language, you take off your clothes to put on scratchy new ones to then laid on a table where you feel more like a car in the shop instead of a human. Because of all the unfamiliarity, patients commonly are anxious and scared, which ultimately affects their recovery. Agutter described how the human element has been taken out of the healthcare system and patients’ anxiety is not taken into account.

In order to put the human element back into the healthcare system, Agutter has developed a program of a small group of students that are focused on designing innovations for the current health care system. These students work closely throughout the semester, following doctors, nurses, patients, administrators and family members through the process of healthcare to get a holistic picture of the challenges with the current system.

One project addressed the simple lack of information about the healthcare process by creating a map with information of what to expect in the hospital each step of the way. This map contains information in a clear readable way for all education levels with the ultimate goal of easing patients’ anxiety. From development in Agutter’s class, this map has gone to market and currently in the process of being developed for a local hospital. Taking the patients’ concerns and needs in to account in a hospital seems like it should be the norm, however this is an innovative program because it take nothing for granite. This program reevaluated the healthcare system thoroughly and finds ways to address the needs of the patients.

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