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Align with Patient Goals: Jen Horonjeff with Savvy Co-Op

CareCognitics caught up with Jen Horonjeff for National Health IT week to talk about patient experience.

Jen Horonjeff, PhD has been involved in extensive research about patient experience. As an expert in patient research, she started Savvy Co-op, a patient-owned co-op that works with companies and researchers to ensure that the patient perspective was better understood in healthcare.  I wanted to talk to her about Patient Experience and how their startup is working to ensure better information exchange to innovators about patient needs and improving healthcare. This week for National Health IT week we can look at some of the major problems that healthcare has with technology. A lack of involvement from patients has contributed to many of them.

Janae: What do you think about patient centered Health IT?

Jen: Technology should should solve actual problems that patients are having. The trouble is that there are so many different stakeholders in healthcare, and sometimes companies lose sight of who is the end-user or affected by the product. There may be times an insurance company is paying for product to be used, therefore is developed from their perspective, which could be meaningless or cumbersome to the patient, leading to low adherence.

Another scenario may be where the patient isn’t the end-user, but they are still affected by the technology. For example electronic health records systems may make patients feel disconnected from a provider sitting behind a computer checking boxes, instead of facing them while they talk. Involving patients in the design would have helped identify core issues and problems sooner.

Janae: What do you think about Patient Loyalty Programs?

Jen: There are a lot of programs out there that are designed to produce certain behaviors. Gamification and loyalty programs need to have aligned goals. Take the example of a patient taking their insulin. An insurance company’s goal may be to have less admissions to the emergency room and lower healthcare costs. The patient’s goal might be to go to their child’s weekly soccer game, and taking insulin might enable them to do that.

The end action might be the same–the patient is taking their medication–but it may need to be framed in a way that has an impact on the patient’s lives. Therefore loyalty programs and gamification need to identify the personal goals and priorities of the patient and be structured and anchored accordingly.

Janae: Do you think all patients know what motivates them?

Jen: There are different ways to identify priorities and motivations of patients. There may be instances where you want to ask them direct questions, and other times where you want to observe them or ask them to share other stories in order to see a more complete picture of their life,  behaviors, and challenges they face despite their motivations. Understanding motivations and barriers is a critical component that should not be overlooked. It takes time and resources, but without it your product may significantly miss the mark. Savvy helps companies connect directly with patients to ensure they get the insights they need to build better products and services.

CareCognitics cares about patient centered technology that creates value for patients.
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Align with Patient Goals: Jen Horonjeff with Savvy Co-Op