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Achieving Equity and Enhancing Quality of Life in Healthcare

Steven Issa, Former Chief Digital Officer of the Australian Digital Health Agency joined Will Hudson, Vice President, Public Healthcare and Phill Bland, Global Government Advisor at a Qualtrics Healthcare Roundtable event to discuss how we can better understand the communities we serve to improve the care in healthcare. We’ve gathered the highlights of the conversation which spanned their individual experiences supporting revolutions in healthcare across the globe.

Engaging communities at scale

As organisations re-architect infrastructure, build programs, and design services for communities, the importance of involving the community they aim to serve in the process cannot be overlooked. Too often an assumptive point of view drives change in Healthcare, rather than an informed position encompassing the voice of the community. By understanding personal lives and preferences at the community level, organisations can truly engage a community at scale.

Soundbites alone are not enough to overcome the inequities experienced in healthcare; a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of individuals and their drivers in choosing to engage with, or avoid, the healthcare system is required to make effective change. Only when community members are invited to the table to be understood through their own voices, can we begin to serve them more effectively.

Drawing on his experience leading transformation and innovative initiatives across Australia, including the evolution of My Health Record and its architecture, the development of the Covid Dashboard, and the first government native mobile health application, Steven Issa commented:

The problems the healthcare system is trying to solve are being answered in surveys by a population of people who, more often than not, aren’t the ones experiencing the inequities. The individuals most affected are not likely to have access to the questions. Think about digital, product and health outcome journeys with a mindset to transform and start somewhere - give it a crack!

Building trust with disenfranchised and marginalised populations

The first step toward building trust is to move beyond the perfunctory inclusion of perspectives by intentionally interjecting the unique voices of the underserved in our healthcare systems. A common barrier to trust is only involving the communities our healthcare systems represent by proxy, through evidence-based and academic research, rather than through involvement.

The most effective change is created when organisations involve the individuals closest to the problem they are solving - the communities being served. Reaching out to individuals at scale and pulling their voices into the change-making process ensures qualitative insights are baked into new solutions - leading to more meaningful engagement and impactful preventative programs.

Moving insights into action alongside the community, and with their involvement, becomes the most effective way to close the divide and resolve mistrust in healthcare systems. Engaging the community in any process of change by asking for input early and often, prevents developing new systems in a vacuum, devoid of feedback.

Regarding the risk of inaction, Will Hudson shared “We can become paralysed in a belief that the data will become more insightful. But, true insights lie in taking the data available to you and making iterative action with it. This is where impacts and changes to both the system and subsets of individuals are achieved - by putting data into production. New questions and directions will be derived and in the process, progressive action and change will impact the individuals you intend to assist as well as the programs and interventions being improved. As change is experienced, the community will be more inclined to offer qualitative feedback. You’ve enhanced the ability to co-design with the community and developed an engaged stakeholder group who are already experiencing benefits. ”

What to do with the data you’ve gathered

The importance of taking action on surveys and responses gleaned is two-pronged, marginalised communities can be left feeling nothing more than studied or observed if they do not experience change following their feedback. Additionally, programs come under scrutiny on spending when no actions have been taken to achieve a return on investment from the valuable data gathered. In both situations, further distrust is generated and communities remain disenfranchised.

Putting feedback into action takes resources and consideration, consequently, the most effective approach often involves building momentum over time, demonstrating value through iteration. By remaining consultative to the community being served and utilising a co-design approach, organisations can test changes while individuals experience improvements and rebuild trust in the systems of care.

Leveraging the learnings of the COVID-19

New systems can be challenging to implement at scale, but the COVID-19 pandemic proved our collective ability to:

  • Deploy innovative consultation methods with communities
  • Move faster
  • Operate in ambiguity

By continuing to utilise the multi-channel capabilities and improved operating models we developed during unprecedented times, great change can be achieved.

Gaining access to unique voices

No longer can we wait for individuals to present for care to be heard, an evolution from patient experience to community experience will be required. To improve today’s healthcare system we need to understand what is happening in the community as a whole and not just at the patient experience level. The inequities that lead to poor health among high-risk populations are not fully understood until we address what is happening outside of the four walls of a clinic or hospital. Giving underrepresented groups a voice will create powerful opportunities and assist in the revolution of our healthcare system.

Download the full report for more on:

  • The cost of health inequities on society
  • Case studies with global impact
  • How Qualtrics is supporting innovation in healthcare

Achieving equity and enhancing quality of life in healthcare

Qualtrics // Experience Management

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees.

With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle.

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