In coming to Genentech and applying my user experience skills here, one of my first realizations was that a patient’s journey doesn’t begin with diagnosis, and it doesn’t end with the completion of treatment. It begins with the early symptoms that the person might not even recognize immediately. Getting to a diagnosis is not the start of the journey; instead, it’s one of the milestones. For some patients, especially for many of the treatments that Genentech makes, their journey is a lifelong one. For others, it ends not when treatment is completed, but when they have recovered and completed everything associated with their diagnosis and treatment.
We published an article called “Beyond the diagnosis” which explores a lot of these ideas. I’m very happy to see others here who are thinking about the whole experience of being a patient. This passage certainly resonates with a lot of the work that I have been doing in the past few months:
Sometimes the cause of a health problem is clear. Other times, it takes years to pinpoint what’s happening in a patient’s body. The uncertainty associated with noticing early symptoms but not understanding their causes can be as debilitating as a disease itself.
This article is a great way to think about what it means to be a patient, and what we in healthcare can do to improve the experience and the outcome for the patient.