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Putting the patient at the center

Blog: Health

10/26/2015
— Aimee Corso 

There may be no better place on the planet than the streets of San Francisco for a conversation about how technology is helping remake the nation’s healthcare system so that it works better, faster and easier for all types of patients. From Sand Hill Road to Sansome Street to South San Francisco, a small army of entrepreneurs, startups and more established companies is exploring ways to build a technology-enabled healthcare system that puts people like all of us more at the center of healthcare.

It’s that challenge that brought a group of thinkers and doers, hosted by WE Communications, to gather on a sunny morning in the Mission District at the beautiful a.Muse Gallery, an event space designed to inspire the imagination. Surrounded by sunshine, healthy food and contemporary art, four thought leaders led a robust discussion about the intersection of health, technology and consumerism. The speakers included Amy Tenderich, a nationally influential patient advocate; Dr. Roni Zeiger, co-founder and CEO of Smart Patients; Adam Jackson, co-founder and CEO of Doctor on Demand; and Dr. Renee Dua, founder and chief medical officer of Heal.

In a wide-ranging discussion over a couple of hours, two comments in particular stuck with me: “When technology works in healthcare, it is invisible. All you see and feel is the care.” That sums up nicely a larger goal that so many of us are trying to achieve in healthcare: a connected system that can be easily navigated by patients, caregivers, all of us — via smartphones, video, wearable devices, and things not yet imagined — to provide a better experience. Another panelist pointed out that a successful approach to care can’t just come from technology transformation, it has to tackle social transformation, as well.

Lastly, let’s make sure we heed the panelists’ reminders that nothing in the tech world leave developers’ hands without intensive user testing. If healthcare could immediately embrace the need to seek and receive consumer feedback about products and services, we would be a lot further ahead in a well-designed system. A simple question: “What problems do you have?” will help put the patient at the center of your thinking right away. We want to hear from you: What other questions should healthcare ask?

Check out a few highlights from our event:

Healthcare pane in SF

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