Great Patient Expectations

Dr. Manoj Mehta uses technology to meet the new communication expectations of patients

Today’s healthcare consumer enters the physician practice with an increasing need for quality information.

“Patients have a high degree of expectations,” stresses Dr. Manoj Mehta, Medical Director and Gastroenterologist at the Endoscopy Center of the North Shore in Wilmette, Illinois. With an increased focus on quality of care measures, chief among those expectations is the need for enhanced communication, which ranked as the most important measure of quality by patients – more than health access, provider clinical quality, pain control and other factors – across 36 studies according to the American Journal of Medical Quality[1].

It’s now commonplace for Dr. Mehta’s patients to ask him about complex medical information that they found online and believe may be pertinent to their own medical conditions.

“In the past, patients weren’t going to the library to do their own research. An informed patient is a good patient, yet today, there is a clutter of medical information available and the Internet has certainly facilitated that. Some of the information is applicable and some of it isn’t,” says Dr. Mehta.

To adapt to the evolving expectations around communication and empower patients to make better health decisions, Dr. Mehta partnered with Outcome Health to bring its health information technology into his practice. “I like to display medical information directly to the patient in the waiting room. During the consultation, the digital wallboard enables me to distill their information, discuss what is relevant and what is not and communicate it to them in a meaningful, understandable way. I’m a very visual guy,” says Dr. Mehta, who worked as a medical Illustrator while studying to be a physician.

Relevant, visual information delivered at the moment of care can also help a patient overcome fears around procedures like colonoscopy. “One patient had a preconception that colonoscopy was going to be very invasive and only lead to bad things. Using the digital wallboard I was able to show him how a scope would pass through the colon,” says Dr. Mehta. The doctor performed the test, found a polyp, removed it, and prevented the very concerns the patient was worried about.

The increased emphasis on meeting patient expectations around communication is driving both health and industry outcomes through demonstrated lifts in patient adherence.

[1] Mohammed, Khaled, et al. “Creating a patient-centered health care delivery system: a systematic review of health care quality from the patient perspective.” American Journal of Medical Quality 31.1 (2016): 12-21.