Virtua Treats Patients Like Clients for Better Outcomes
Joanna Gagis goes on-location to the Virtua Medford Medical Center to learn how their new approach to treating patients more like clients can actually improve the outcomes of healthcare that is delivered.
"Recently my colleague Joanna Gagis visited a healthcare center in south Jersey to see how one approach to healthcare that treats patients like a client can actually improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. We've all stood in line at the pharmacy, awkwardly whispering the prescription that we're there to pick up, hoping that no one around us can hear what we're saying. Well, checking out at a doctor's office can often feel the same way. But here in this practice, patients check out with a nurse right in the privacy of their own room. Here at Virtua Medford Medical Center, a patient's need for privacy was just one of several factors that led to the redesign of this healthcare center in south Jersey. Doctor Kapoor, tell me how you first had the idea to reform this medical center here in Medford. It's been an evolution of concept. We've been providing medical care a certain way, a certain style, for decades. But, you know, then we started thinking about concepts of "form follows function," that you want to design spaces that support the work that's been done in our practices for a number of years. So then I was walking through the mall, and I walked into an Apple store, right? And it's... what a different experience? The moment you walk into an Apple store, you're greeted by a person who helps guide you in the right direction. You still have the ability to go walk through yourself, but you also have someone who's immediately there to help to guide you to the next step. If Apple can do it, why can't we in medicine try something along those lines? Plenty of people walk into an Apple store and don't take that experience and turn it into something meaningful for themself, for their practice, for their customers. What in healthcare has changed over the last few years that is kind of leading us to the path of saying, "let's stop and analyze how we do things, and figure out ways to do it better"? We're in such a unique place in healthcare right now, moreso than ever before. Our patients are also consumers. And the right thing to do is to sit down and sit with our patients slash consumers, and understand what's going through their mind. Coming to the doctor's office is not a big deal for those of us who work here everyday. But it can be anything but routine for those who are coming to see us. They're maybe coming in for something a little bit concerning than an abnormal x-ray, or an abnormal lab test, and they need to sit down and talk about it. So again, how can we help design spaces..."