A phenomenon that has been around for millennia has risen to a new level in our modern age of the Internet, called the sharing economy. This new movement is based on the following criteria:
- Honesty and authenticity
- Empathy towards personal needs
- Predictable and logical actions
What is the sharing economy?
The most recent level of the sharing economy involves services like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb, which are based on the trust of total strangers. People accept rides from and give rides to strangers, trusting that they are motivated by the same need for thrift and frugality.
People rent out their homes while on vacation or their spare rooms while they’re home to people who are glad to find a more economical ‘bed and bath.’ All these sharing arrangements are based on trust and common need.
What can healthcare learn from the sharing economy?
Honesty and Transparency
Only 9% of Americans express trust that the pharmaceutical industry places their health above financial profit. Only 16% believe insurance companies do. Insurance companies and pharmaceutical groups create mission statements that sound good, but the reality people experience contradicts the statements.
People expect medical entities to show empathy, the ability to put themselves in the other person’s place and understand their needs. Organizations can display empathy by creating products that meet the needs of people and providing open communication lines and services to care for those needs.
Logic and Predictability
Patients do not always know what their copay will be for an office visit or prescription. Waiting times in doctors’ offices can affect a patient’s missed work time. What conditions should one see a doctor for and which would resolve on their own? How many medical or diagnostic procedures are unwarranted?
Better education is needed to clarify what to expect from the system. Communication needs to be optimized through email and systems like “My Chart” where patients can have a two-way dialogue with their healthcare professionals in a secure, online setting.
In a profession where trust is of utmost importance, care providers on all levels need to define their goal for patient care and deliver consistent, high-quality results for every patient.