Human-centered Healthcare in a Tech World

Image by TEDxTWU

Image by TEDxTWU

Several weeks ago, Dr. Susan Cooley, renowned Healthcare Consultant and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and TEDx speaker, joined DHS Group and its Health Talks Summer Breakfast event to share with those in attendance about “The Other Side of the Stethoscope.”

(You can view Dr. Cooley’s full TEDx speech, referenced below, by clicking here.)

After spending years on one side of the medical industry as a medical professional herself, Dr. Cooley was faced with the reality of the other side when she was admitted to the hospital with dehydration, pneumonia and sepsis – a dire diagnosis.

Looking back on her time as a patient, Dr. Cooley recalls not the tender touch of a nurse or the kind words of a doctor as they explained upcoming tests or procedures, rather, it is the machines and the computers that come to her mind.

“I have been a nurse for almost 40 years,” Cooley said. “I love being a nurse. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from my years in the trenches. I consider it a real privilege to be with people at such vulnerable times in their lives. But I am worried. Worried that something has changed. There is something off-kilter with the whole healthcare system – and not for the betterment of patients.”

Throughout her presentation, Dr. Cooley was quick to recount the expert medical care she received, but in the same vein, the lack of person-to-person interaction to make her feel like she was actually being cared for by other humans. Not just a case that needed to have numbers entered into a computer in order to satisfy its needs and solve the problem at hand.

Is the system broken?

“The current system, to me, is a perfect storm,” Cooley said. “One that demotivates the nurse, which demotivates the patient and (stet) which ultimately hinders heeling. I think it’s a slippery slope. I believe that the very machines we created to make things work better are eroding real patient caring. Being an optimist and a card-carrying computer geek, I am sure there are countless ways we can redesign the system to help patients feel cared for.”

“But first, we must be willing to look at ourselves – we must take a look at the mechanistic monster we’ve created. We must learn to work WITH computers, rather than be slaves TO them.”

While at DHS, analytics are near the core of what we do, the incorporation of engagement tools (like Move and Medical) take the computer and pair it with the person. This partnership between data and humans creates a circle of health tools that enable employers to both optimize the value of their healthcare plans and fully engage their employees to take an interest in their own personal health and well-being.

To read more about how DHS takes state-of-the-art analytics and pairs them with action plans to create human-centric healthcare answers, click here.

Interested in learning more about adopting a human-centered approach to wellness at your company? Click below to schedule a brief personal demo or call with our team.