Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

Humanizing Healthcare

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Institute of Noetic Sciences Invitational Conference at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where the conversation centered on humanizing healthcare. Several themes emerged from the conversations of this dynamic interdisciplinary group that included nurses, physicians, media experts, scientists, business experts, and global health leaders:

  • Access to healthcare is a basic human right.
  • Health reform is more significant than healthcare reform.
  • It is critical that people become more actively engaged and take charge of their health.
  • We need to find creative and compelling ways to communicate key health messages.

In a recent NY Times article, Allison Arieff describes an initiative at Kaiser Permanente known as KP Innovation. With the goal of improving the patient experience, Kaiser is launching a comprehensive set of initiatives that range from designing greener, healthier buildings to increasing the time nurses spend at the bedside.

I found the language used to describe this effort fascinating. Total Health has become a principle on which to build new facilities and remodel existing ones, and the goal at every level is to design systems and processes that enable patients, as well as staff, to thrive.

From my perspective, Kaiser Permanente is really getting it right. They are positioning themselves as an organization that delivers wellness, as well as comprehensive care, to patients and their families. They are finding ways to actively engage consumers and save money, as well as the environment. Hats off to you, Kaiser Permanente, you are one of the best examples I know of an organization totally committed to humanizing healthcare.

To read about other organizations "getting it right," pick up a copy of Tim Brown's Change By Design, an enticing account of the power of design thinking. You'll recognize many of the organizations who have transformed themselves - and their unique customer experiences - through reimagining their products and services, just like Kaiser Permanente.

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