Using Co-Design Tools to Rethink Patient Care in a Post-Covid-19 World

In the article Getting to Patient-Centered Care in a Post–Covid-19 Digital World, Adrienne Boissy points out that, “Post–Covid-19...we often don’t even have to touch a patient anymore, physically or emotionally. But we must engineer a future wherein we do.” How do we go back to basics to do this? By listening to what matters to the patient (and clinicians, staff, care team, etc) all stakeholders are invited to the table to partner in co-creating the “new norm”.  Ideas and innovation born out of the pandemic can be adopted into new care models while fragmented communication silos and processes can be done away with.

An obvious step in this process is to reinforce shared-decision making (SDM) with patients and to ask early “What matters to you?” instead of “What’s the matter with you?”. The antiquated model of providers dictating to patients what their care plan is should be replaced with a reinvigorated person-centered model that includes patients and families, as well as clinicians and staff. After all, communication within provider and staff groups is essential to delivering positive patient experiences.  

An increasing number of healthcare professionals are adopting the idea that patients should be treated for their care like any other consumer who has choices and options. Consumers will look at prices, how well the experience and staff “delight” them, short wait times, empathy from clinician and staff, coordination, and the demonstrable value placed on satisfying their needs and requests.  It is up to organizations to earn their consumers’ loyalty by developing the quality services they expect, listen to what their needs are, and develop trusting relationships. 

Lastly, let’s reimagine how we measure experiences - How do we change the way we think about experiential data? The way qualitative data is collected and used today is a myriad of standardized surveys given to patients who are tired of filling them out and feel that their voice isn’t heard or valued. Surveys ought to ask the questions that really matter, such as, “Did you feel cared for?”. Boissy proposes, “Pairing subjective patient input with objective metrics so that rather than chasing scores based on perception, we can simultaneously demonstrate operational achievements that truly move an organization toward patient centricity.” The retrospective nature of standardized surveys, and narrow focus towards inpatient care, all together signify the need for an overhaul of the system so that it is more inclusive and individualized.  

goShadow provides expert technical assistance in listening sessions, survey design, data analysis, implementation strategy, and coaching. Access the What Matters To You Toolkit and goShadow offerings here to start providing patient-centered care!

Source: Adrienne Boissy, MD. “Getting to Patient-Centered Care in a Post–Covid-19 Digital World: A Proposal for Novel Surveys, Methodology, and Patient Experience Maturity Assessment.” NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery, 14 July 2020,

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October 22, 2021