Meeting our patients' needs

Yesterday I met my friend Joe for coffee. 15 years ago Joe and I bonded over our shared jitters about integral calculus the first week of Business School. He has a thriving beauty marketing consultancy working with industry giants like Estee Lauder as well as start up companies. Despite the apparent differences in our industries, I find our conversations invaluable when I think about how to better focus my efforts on healthcare's most important customer: our patients.

Selling "hope in a jar" might seem miles away from healthcare but it's hard to argue with researching what matters to your customers and developing your product to meet their needs.

Too often our healthcare delivery systems seem to be built to meet our needs as providers and payers rather than those of our patients. An article I read today ( http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/4019598-74/observation-patients-hospital ) seemed to illustrate just that. It describes the way that hospital stays are often re-categorized as "observation" long after the patient has gone home, often with significant financial implications for the patient.  That seems unfair and not at all designed to meet the needs of our patients. As patients tune in more to the costs of their healthcare because of greater participation in high deductible plans I hope to see pushback on this type of opacity in our delivery systems.