The Voice of the Patient
The DGTL Voices with Ed Marx Podcast endeavours to cover the entire spectrum of health and life sciences with a weekly podcast featuring an exciting industry leader or guest speaker with an interesting perspective to share. In the very first episode Ed was joined by patient experience consultant and speaker - Stacy Hurt - to discuss the voice of the patient. Arguably one of the most important in this industry and too often forgotten in many strategies and decision making exercises. If you haven't had an opportunity to listen to the podcast yet, you can find it on all your favourite podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Who is Stacy Hurt?
"My friend calls me the healthcare triple threat. I am patient as I am a stage four colorectal cancer survivor (I just hit 5 years cancer free despite being given only an 8% chance of survival when I was first diagnosed). I am a caregiver to my son who has intellectual and developmental disabilities and special needs, so I am a 24/7 care giver. Finally, I am a healthcare executive in that as all of this was happening to me personally, professionally I spent 20 plus years in healthcare management, sales, marketing, training and other business administration roles.
I have this unique perspective and skillset in that I have been on all sides of it. Since my diagnosis and recovery, and through that I did a lot of volunteer advocacy work for other patients, now what I am finding is a huge need for companies to connect to their end users. As such, the business work that I do now is speaking and consulting for companies who want to connect better to their end user and hear that patient voice in what they are doing.
What is the importance of attitude?
To me, attitude is everything. I am a big sports fan who grew up playing sports and there was no sense in feeling defeated. I went in to every game thinking I was going to win and be the leading scorer. If you start by believing yourself you're already at the top. When I advocate for patients now I just believe that everybody is going to beat cancer. I know that is not always the case and we lose patients to cancer every day, but I tell the patients that from the beginning we all must believe that you are going to beat this. We are going to commit to doing everything we can to beat it. That was how I viewed my own disease. If I was going to go down, I was going to go down swinging. You owe it to yourself to give it everything you've got...
What should digital providers think about when it comes to patient advocacy?
When everything opens back up, do not let the digital option go away! I am a primary caregiver to my son and I don't have any care for him, so I am not able to attend any and all of the conferences and events that I would like to. I urge executives to keep a digital option available to all of your conferences and have it be very inclusive for patients who are in active treatment, have financial barriers that they can overcome to attend conferences.
Secondly, you can't talk about the patient experience without talking about the patient. I just read yet another article about a clinician who was designing a new cancer treatment center and noted that they "thought about it from a patient perspective and looked at through the patient's eyes". I asked them to walk me through the methodology in how they did that and it was clear that the patient was considered but not consulted. Speak to them and do not assume that you as a provider can also be the voice of the patient.