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A Promising Diagnosis for the Patient Care Experience

If our universal drivers are a vehicle toward more meaningful user experiences, what’s taking health-care organizations so long? We make the case for human desires in the patient’s world.

When it comes to our habits and preferences as consumers, we’re all a bit different. But at one time or another, most of us have shared in a very specific—and largely uninspired—user experience: you’ve been the patient.

Recall the countless occurrences of sitting in a doctor’s office. So long as its furniture and color palette had been updated in the past 15 years and your records were semi-digitized, it was considered a modern, vastly improved patient experience.

But merely updating functionality isn’t enough. There’s so much untapped opportunity in the health-care space—opportunities to soothe and comfort in difficult circumstances; opportunities to offer moments of unexpected delight. So it’s perplexing why, given the emotional and physical vulnerability of its captive audience, the brands within this space haven’t funneled more energy into enhancing the experience.

Take a moment to free yourself from accepted notions and reach a little higher. Imagine you actually felt and believed that you were welcomed, known and valued at every touchpoint of the patient journey—from the communications received before you entered the facility to the products used during and after your care. It’s essential for the patient-care industry to remember that every moment of contact affects user experience, which ultimately affects brand trust.

But this doesn’t just have to live in our imaginations. A fearless few innovators in the world of health care are showing what the patient brand experience could look like. Take the CanSurround app, which provides calming exercises, guided journaling and meditations for individuals facing chemotherapy—proving that a decrease in stress can increase their lifespan.

There’s also the GE Pirate Island Adventure CT Scan, a whimsical, ride-like experience that places pediatric patients in a pirate ship MRI within a “lost lagoon” room—complete with nurses and radiologists who dress the part. It’s not only unexpected and fun, it’s also doing good for the hospital’s operations: the number of children needing to be sedated has reduced dramatically, less time-intensive anesthesia sessions, more patients served each day and patient satisfaction scores soar by 90 percent.

These improvements not only boost the patient’s individual experience, but also payoff for the provider as well. When organizations design for the patient first they outpace industry peers, seeing increases in successful clinical outcomes and overall patient intake.

So, how do we inject more of this into the branded products and services that makeup our patient experience? We’ll tell you how: desires. There are 16 hardwired desires in each of us, defined by our motives, fears and pleasures. The GE Pirate CT scanner made an overt play to our desire for curiosity—the want for knowledge that activates intrinsic feelings of awe and wonder. It’s the childlike feeling of discovery that lives within us for a lifetime. The CanSurround app doesn’t just deliver a guided meditation—it delivers on our desire for tranquility. It also staves off tranquility’s associated fears: anxiety and danger.

Desires address fear and pleasure in tandem—and there’s really no sector more familiar with both.  

Desires address fear and pleasure in tandem—and there’s really no sector more familiar with both. It’s easy to imagine the possibilities for any brand, but it’s more difficult to take action. There are some brands that understand the need to gracefully weave emotional pull into traditionally push industries—and their entrance into patient care isn’t implausible. Could Amazon Prime Now expedite doorstep prescription deliveries in under two hours? What if Lyft, a rideshare company helping to move the transportation industry forward, used its established network to drive down costs for medical appointments and emergency transportation?

The tectonic shift is happening as organizations move from basic satisfaction to more disruptive notions of patient fulfillment. Performance is becoming parity, and our patient-consumer hybrid souls desire more.

From strategic positioning to user experience, there’s no shortage of ways that desires can elevate your brand experience. Want to learn more? Contact us at lauren.doerning@lpk.com and jen.dusold@lpk.com. And for more insights and ideas, follow LPK on Twitter at @LPK.

Co-authored by Lauren Doerning and Jen Dusold

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As a brand leader at LPK, Lauren Doerning helps guide client teams through the fuzzy front-end of innovation projects. Her ability to translate complex systems and future-forward work into understandable, simple language has helped her achieve success for some of the world’s best-known brands across diverse categories.

Jen Dusold is a creative director for front-end innovation at LPK, leading upstream innovation efforts for multi-million and multi-billion dollar family brands. As a fashion-designer-turned-brand-expert, her favorite challenges involve using the power of design to find joy-based solutions to shame-based problems for fellow humans.

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