Improving Patient Experience with a Consumer-Centric Approach

Ahead of his keynote at the upcoming mHealth + Telehealth World 2016, Michael Ruiz, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at MedStar Health, sat down with MedTech Boston to discuss the way that patient engagement and care is changing in the face of emerging technologies.

One of the ways in which Ruiz is helping to usher MedStar into the digital age is by reimagining the patient experience. “In order to balance the relationship between physicians and patients, it’s important to become significantly more patient-centric than we are today,” Ruiz explains. “We need to start thinking about our patients as customers. They expect good customer service.”

Michael Ruiz | Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

Michael Ruiz | Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

Patients are looking for the kind of value and efficiency that they have come to expect as consumers. “We live in a world where everything is available to us instantaneously,” explains Ruiz, pointing to examples like ordering an Uber or a Starbucks coffee from his phone. “That kind of seamless, frictionless interaction to get service is the kind of thing that we as a culture have really grown to appreciate and demand.”  Our experiences as patients, he believes, should be just as seamless.

Healthcare technology vendors also need to treat doctors as consumers in order to improve the patient experience. As many physicians attest, user experience design is woefully lacking from much of the technology they use to practice—especially EHRs—and solutions must be implemented to help doctors interact more seamlessly with these systems. “I think over the next ten years we’ll start to see more integration of natural language processing and other mechanisms to create a more organic interaction between the doctor and the health record,” says Ruiz.

Although obvious that there is still plenty of work to be done integrating technology to improve patient experience and outcomes, Ruiz is optimistic that we are on the right track. “This is typical of a normal industry maturation curve,” he says. Ultimately, he believes, technology will enable us to promote wellness and minimize illness among patients.

“If we do our job right—If we invest in our communities and provide them with tools to be able to manage their health in more effective ways— we should be able to take care of people before they become patients,” he says.

To learn more about Michael Ruiz and the mHealth + Telehealth World conference, click here. MedTech readers save $100 with code MB100.

Abigail Ballou

Abigail Ballou

    Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively. When she isn't writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.

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