Often, many primary healthcare systems fail to meet the needs of people who need it the most as they do not put enough effort to form two-way and trustworthy primary care relationships with their patients. Factors such as transportation, housing insecurity, mental health issues, overall health, lack of confidence and trust play a key role in communicating with the healthcare providers. Sometimes, these factors are ignored and improper services are rendered. frequently, the need for a primary care relationship is expressed by the patients that are not tied to a credential (e.g., an MD).
The patients expect empathy since there are many challenges and barriers faced by them in day-to-day life. At times, patients feel that doctors do not have time to sit and listen to them since profit from the service is given more importance than the rambling. In many cases, it is noted that unhappiness or illness is seen as the profit-driven source and hence patients get manipulated based on it. There is a strong desire amongst the patients for primary care relationships and supportive services such as:
- An ongoing relationship with a trusted provider;
- Help to navigate the complex health and social services system;
- Providers with greater cultural sensitivity and empathy; and
- A centralized place that would include mental health care and supportive services in addition to primary care (a “one-stop-shop”).
“The healthcare system has been going through major changes that are too often designed without meaningful input from the very people it exists to serve,” says Ann Hwang, MD, director of the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation, Boston.
Bringing the consumer experience to the forefront of health system transformation to deliver better care, better value and better health for every community, particularly vulnerable and historically underserved populations should be the main goal of healthcare providers.