Empathy In Our Industry

Don’t treat me like a number. Don’t define me by my condition. Have a heart.

These three things, expressed in a variety of ways, comprise the takeaways from any interaction with empowered patients I’ve had in the past several years. Our industry would be wise to take those sentiments to heart.

We’ve reached that portion of the year when business begins to wind down so that families can celebrate the holidays together. It becomes near-impossible to hail clients, partners and co-workers by phone, e-mail or otherwise, and our focuses turn to reflecting on how well we achieved our vision in 2018.

No self-examination would be complete without thinking how well we did with respect for patients.

With our strategic priorities in mind, did we lose sight of how empathetic we were being toward patients and their health predicaments? Did we treat patients as ends and not as mere means? Did we build basic human empathy into everything we were doing?

For any of us that have chronic health conditions, empathy plays a huge role in everything we do – whether we seek treatment from our doctor or continue to fall victim to things like social stigmas; whether we acknowledge the realities of our condition and fill that first prescription; whether we trust in our healthcare professionals and stay on our treatment regimen.

At any point in that arc, the journey can become that much more difficult when the patient is treated as something other than a living, breathing human being.

Regardless of which holiday you celebrate this time of year, that universal absolute weaves itself into the truths of whatever religion or philosophy you hold dear: Treat others as you would be treated.

That’s not just an empty assertion meant to simply keep us on the track to doing more and better business. It defines how we sleep at night and how we get up in the morning ready to face patient challenges and help the healthcare industry. None of us could do what we do if we didn’t believe we were helping people.

To do that, we need to listen to what patients are telling us and have been telling us for years. Don’t treat me like a number. Don’t define me by my condition. Have a heart.

By: Jason Perry

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