3 Reasons Why Patient Design Must Replace The Patient-Centricity Illusion

3 Reasons Why Patient Design Must Replace The Patient-Centricity Illusion

While patient design is a concept that invites patients as active participants, patient centricity is an illusion which we must let go.

What is the difference between patient design and patient centricity? Why is the former a concept we need to embrace in the future of medicine, and why is it time to forget about the latter? These are the questions we examined in our latest paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, authored by The Medical Futurist Dr Bertalan Mesko and patient scholar Dave deBronkart – widely known as ePatient Dave. 

Patient centricity has been the buzzword of the past two decades, especially often used in the 2010s, from pharma companies to healthcare providers, it was loudly advertised everywhere. As nice as it sounds, it proved to be little more than “greenwashing” of the old model, as the only thing it actually meant was “we might think about you when we make decisions”. 

Patient centricity, as was used so far, is nothing but an illusion. It keeps patients in a passive role, their voices have no power since the decisions are made by the traditional stakeholders of the medical ecosystem. Sociologist Sherry Arnstein bluntly called this tokenism.

Patient design is a different concept, one that invites patients as active participants – and stakeholders – in the highest levels of decision-making in healthcare. This is called a “co-design” approach, and is defined as “a creative practice that can be used to improve customer experience and enhance value”.

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