by Tim Travis, President and Co-founder, TruthPoint

“With Healthcare at the Edge of Uncertainty, Human Experience Matters More than Ever.” That’s the title of an excellent blog post by Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP, heralding the new year and reflecting on the significant impacts and shifts those of us in healthcare have experienced over the past year. Those impacts will almost certainly continue, but Wolf makes a good point based on a sentiment from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: Sometimes in the midst of change, focusing on what will remain the same can be empowering.

In healthcare “what matters at our core” is the patient experience. That’s a constant we can cling to despite policy changes, technological impacts and emerging competition in the healthcare market.

Healthcare is about caring for people. That’s our core.

The Beryl Institute’s report, “The State of the Patient Experience 2017: A Return to Purpose,” written by Wolf, and based on input from 1644 respondents representing hospitals, practices and long-term care facilities in 26 countries on 6 continents, supports the focus on people and the patient experience. When asked to identify their top priorities for the next three years, respondents overwhelmingly (82 percent) said the patient experience was their top priority, followed by employee engagement/satisfaction (46 percent). Certainly, you can’t have the former without the latter.

It’s somewhat surprising, though, that while 82 percent of respondents also said that they are either well-established (26 percent) or established/making some progress (56 percent) with their patient experience efforts, 18 percent are just beginning the journey and 1 percent have not yet started.

If care is at our core, and it is, the patient experience must be a top priority, and that experience is largely impacted by people—people serving people. Technology provides us with the ability to streamline the delivery of care and, in our case, to gather and analyze information based on input from patients, clinicians, and others, at every point along the care continuum. But, technology is an enabler, not a solution.

People hold the promise to positively impact patient care.  We’re in agreement with Wolf: “human experience matters more than ever.” We can’t predict the future, other than to know with certainty, that serving patients will remain what matters at the core for healthcare providers—in 2018 and beyond.