Patient Isolation + How Technology Can Solve It

All of us have had healthcare experiences, likely coming from both sides of the equation — as the patient or as the loved one. And our experiences, while not the same, have exposed us to a range of memorable emotions and experiences, whether positive, negative, or neutral.

Over the past 10 years, Steelcase Health has traveled along these healthcare journeys in the form of 18 studies, involving 15,000 hours of observations, that have yielded new insights about these experiences.

One significant insight we’ve realized: Patients and their loved ones experience several transitional moments between key touch points along the healthcare journey. These transitional moments, also known as in-between moments, are times such as the moments between a patient’s arrival and their first interaction with a clinician, or the time spent waiting between seeing one clinician and another. A transitional moment can also be the time after finishing up with a clinician and being reacquainted with one’s family. It can even be time at home.

Isolation + Anxiety

Unfortunately, whether journeying alone or in tandem with family members, transitional moments can be full of anxiety. Healthcare spaces often add to these already anxiety-filled experiences instead of solving them.

One particular part of the healthcare journey that we have found feeds anxiety is the sense of isolation. “Isolation is something we’ve all experienced in healthcare,” Jason Vanderground, the brand manager of Steelcase Health, stated. “That isolation is experienced especially when sitting and waiting. It’s like a holding pattern, wasting valuable time until an interaction with the clinician occurs. And the waiting period is commonly filled with reading outdated magazines instead of connecting in the patient’s desired way.”

“The outcomes of Steelcase Health’s research focused on not just acknowledging that space could host people better, but this space could better serve the needs of the people using it. We found that by simply leveraging everyday technology, these spaces could be used for information sharing, making meaningful connections with family members, escape, and even entertainment,” explained Vanderground. “What if the healthcare space could help patients and families reclaim time and create an entirely different type of experience in common spaces? It’s a huge opportunity to have a positive impact through the journey.”

Regard, Technology + Control

Regard, one solution offered by Steelcase Health, supports patients by empowering them to take control of their healthcare journeys. By integrating technology, Regard allows information exchange between patient, clinician, and loved ones. It also allows interaction with health-related education when there’s a need to find more information. And when one simply needs to escape, Regard allows for that too.

“Regard helps to create space that makes the healthcare experience richer — connecting people, place, and technology,” said Vanderground.

This was part one of a three-part series. Stay tuned, and let us know about your waiting or common space experiences as we continue to discuss our research and insights over the next couple of weeks.

Learn more about Regard.

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