The diagnosis comes. It is delivered swiftly and the air catches in your chest. You are choked back to mortality, an impermanence that your overloaded day obscures. Anxiety crashes down: What about your family? How will you afford it? Can you get leave from work? The illness itself is a startling revelation, but now you are thrust into navigating the confounding labyrinth that is our healthcare system. So how do you manage it all?
Patient journey is defined as a succession of care events from the point you first experience symptoms through diagnosis, treatment, and eventual outcome of the illness. Consider how confusing it must be to travel along this journey. For instance, you want to educate yourself about the disease, but cannot seem to find reliable sources. In seeking a community of fellow patients to better understand treatment options and shared experiences, you fail to locate a legitimate forum with compassionate conversations. Payment and insurance matters are overwhelming; how do you begin to make sense of coverage and costs? Finally, where do you turn when your specialty drugs require self-injections and you are terrified by the idea of sticking yourself with a needle – let alone doing it weekly, for the rest of your life?
The problem is not simply finding help; eventually you do, but only after exhausting hours of research and speaking on the phone with dozens of people whom you spent weeks locating. You could truly publish a book with all the knowledge you accumulate throughout the process.
Now envision a system less daunting by design. What if there were a dedicated guide connecting you to the right people and serving to lift you through each stage from the informative, yet encouraging words of the doctor through countless events to the administration of life saving medication? Imagine the comfort and relief you would feel as that guide tended to your needs at every step of the patient journey. We believe that healthcare stakeholders (doctors, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, payers, etc.) can collaborate in ways that leave behind the stale, stand-alone, disconnected services of the past, while embracing comprehensive solutions in service to the patient. The question is this: who will be the innovator leading the effort to craft this exceptional experience?
Patients are often told that they are not alone in their struggle, yet illness has a considerable isolating effect. A united front among the healthcare community would significantly impact patients’ lives, rendering them not merely a data point within a colossal entity, but a uniquely important human being whose wellness is of absolute importance. Healthcare stakeholders must align and partner together with the goal of placing patients as the pivotal focus of the system – because lives depend on it.
This has been an introduction to Nuvera’s Patient Journey Series dedicated to cultivating innovations in the quest for improved patient experiences.