In a newsletter I receive about Accountable Care Organizations (boy, they really need to come up with a better name for these things) was a list of “what patients want” from their ACO. It isn’t a bad list and since I rarely talk about the patient experience I have elected to post bits of it (with annotation) here:

1) A primary care doc who responds pretty quickly to my calls, emails, texts or Skype (or has a fabulous nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant who gets right back to me). Someone who routinely asks how I’m feeling, not just whether my body is OK. Someone who makes eye contact and can explain what’s going on with words I understand.

I taught the first year medical students about how to be a “good doctor” despite everything it still comes down to communication, both verbal and non-verbal

2) A dentist who does the same (and who shares records with my doc.)

3) Evening and weekend office and lab hours.

4) An electronic medical record I can view at home and add to as needed. The record will show the prices of the tests or treatments my doctor recommends and the ones I receive.

I have mixed feelings about “patient annotated records.” Although in my core I believe that people want to feel better, I have enough experience with patients that manipulate for secondary gain to be very wary of this concept.

5) A patient coach who will help me get a second opinion or find more information about my illness, set health improvement goals, and understand the costs of my care. Someone who will help me be an informed advocate for myself and my family.

6) An ombudsman with whom I can register problems or a complaint.

7) A great, easy-to-navigate website that includes my records and all the information my patient coach wants me to see: FAQs and videos or health explainer-type games as well as a place to chat online with patients who’ve been in a similar circumstance.

Just saw a demo by Polycom about how to do just that with tele-medicine technology. The technology is here, and the ACO concept might make it a possibility.

8) Cool incentives and rewards for staying healthy, exercising more, losing weight or quitting a bad habit.

9) Easy parking or valet service or a shuttle from the closest train station or golf carts that drop me at the front door (can we make going to the doctor more fun?)

Folks need to walk (My daughter tried to get us to buy her a “Barbie Car” to use to go to the park instead of walking and I was against that as well).

10) Really nice front office staff who know my name and remember something about me and offer to help with the next step in my care and maybe even get me water or tea as I wait.

11) Basic tests in the same building as my primary care doc that don’t require more than a 30-minute wait.

12) Quality measures I can understand and evidence of improvement

Trying to get folks to look for quality is going to be the answer to many of our problems. Trying to package information in a manner that the lay person will intuitively understand what quality is will be vital to the success of this massive system change.

She has a wish list which is very interesting as well, so check it out.