An open-door culture that allows patients to
self-schedule appointments conveniently and
in the method of their choice gets patients
through the doors quickly. Communicating clearly
throughout the process moves the needle forward
substantially and sets up the patient for success.
with a Human Touch
Technology is becoming ubiquitous throughout
health care, and new advances arise nearly daily.
From Amazon’s health records mining initiative
to hospital beds that digitally monitor patients’
vital signs, 4, 5 these innovations offer advances in
treatment and improved patient health outcomes.
But as Abraham Verghese said in his popular Ted
Talk, the human touch in medicine may just be
the most powerful innovation to come. 6
Automating time-intensive tasks, including
manual phone call reminders, discharge fol-
low-ups for routine procedures, and outreach
to high-risk patients, saves the entire care team
valuable time. Providers can invest this time
in person-to-person communications funda-
mental to providing health care (see “Patient
Simple, Open, and Personable
Technology can serve a role in enhancing the
patient-provider relationship, not stifling it.
Providers and patients alike intuitively understand that the process of healthcare delivery
should be simple, open, and personable
throughout the care journey. While the industry
puts increasing pressure on healthcare organizations to deliver exceptional service while
simultaneously achieving benchmarks on key
quality thresholds, a comprehensive approach
to patient success is essential. Ensuring that
the patient remains at the center of their own
care journey bridges the gap between wellness
and experience and ensures patient and organizational success alike.
Tashfeen Ekram, M.D., FACR, is cofounder and chief
medical officer of Luma Health. He is also a practicing
radiologist at the Redwood Radiology Group, specializing in chest imaging.
1. D.P. Goldman, M. Vaiana, and J. A. Romley. 2010.
Emerging Importance of Patient Amenities in
Hospital Care. New England Journal of Medicine,
363( 23): 2185–2187. Accessed January 22, 2019
2. Council of Accountable Physician Practices.
2017. 2017 Consumer Healthcare Priorities
Study: What Patients and Doctors Want from the
Health Care System. Accessed January 22, 2019
3. C. Doyle, L. Lennox, and D. Bell. 2013. Systematic
Review of Evidence on the Links Between Patient
Experience and Clinical Safety and Effectiveness.
BMJ Open, 3( 1). Accessed January 22, 2019 at
4. T.A. Kass-Hout and M. Wood. 2018. Introducing
Medical Language Processing with Amazon
Comprehend Medical. AWS Machine Learning,
Nov 27, 2018. Accessed January 22, 2019 at
5. M. Evans. 2018. Hospital Beds Get Digital Upgrade.
Wall Street Journal, Dec. 9, 2018. Accessed
January 22, 2019 at wsj.com/articles/hospital-
6. A. Verghese. 2011. A Doctor’s Touch. TEDGlobal.
Accessed January 22, 2019 at ted.com/talks/
Identifying Aspects of Patient
Experience and Search Terms
Relational aspects Functional aspects
Emotional and psychological support;
relieving fear and anxiety; treated with
respect, kindness, dignity, compassion,
delivered by trusted
Participation of patient in decisions and
their understanding of their condition;
respecting and understanding their
beliefs, values, concerns, and preferences
Timely, tailored, and expert
management of physical
Involvement of, and support for, family
and caregivers in decisions
Attention to physical
support needs and
(e.g., clean, safe,
Clear, comprehensible information and
communication tailored to patient needs
to support informed decisions (awareness
of available options, risks, and benefits of
treatments) and enable self-care
Coordination and continuity
of care; smooth transitions
from one setting to another
Transparency, honesty, and disclosure
when something goes wrong
Source: 2013. Systematic Review of Evidence on the Links Between Patient Experience and Clinical Safety and
Effectiveness, BMJ Open