Patient Engagement
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Biggest Challenges to Redesigning Health Care (01:58)

Kevin Volpp asks Stacey Chang and Sean Duffy what they see as the biggest challenges to redesigning the health care system in a way that would work better for patients and improve health.

“It’s about embracing the inscrutable nature of human interactions,” says Chang. Evidence-based medicine was a massive improvement over intuition-based medicine, he says, but it only covers traditionally quantifiable data, or those things that are easy to measure. But we’re now quantifying information that was considered qualitative a generation ago.

“Our biggest opportunity is leaning into that. It’s either embracing the qualitative nature of that and designing systems that can act just on the qualitative nature of their experience, or figuring how to quantitate some of those qualitative measures,” says Chang. “That’ll get us much further, because the real value in health care systems is in the human interactions. My relationship with you as a doctor and a patient is far more valuable than the evidence that some trial suggests.”

Duffy points to the increase in health care interactions online and adds that he would like to see a pervasive culture of in-person care as last resort. “If every organizational decision, technology decision, process decision — assuming all the payment stuff, that’s kind of ticket of entry, transpires — if you view in-person as last resort, that will help pull systems across the country to a more consumer-forward Uber-like experience,” he says.

From the NEJM Catalyst event Hardwiring Patient Engagement to Deliver Better Health at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, April 13, 2017.

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