Re-humanizing the Care Experience

HIMSS22 Conference Session Summary

This article is part of an extended series summarizing discussions at recent healthcare conferences about improving health equity through technology. This session summary contains details on the HIMSS22 Conference. You can read our conference overview and find links to all articles here.

Learn more about StartingUpGood’s Health + Equity + Tech Project.

Re-humanizing the Care Experience


As we move towards the future, we must look at how the past 18 months have impacted how we care for patients. There was a learning curve for everyone as we navigated through the pandemic. In the beginning, the priority was to provide care as quickly as possible and the care experience sometimes took a backseat. Technology provided a way to reconnect with patients, but not everyone was able to adopt these solutions. What can we learn from the way care was given during the pandemic to ensure it exceeds patient needs and expectations moving forward? What changes do we need to make to ensure elder patients are provided with the best quality care? In this session, our speakers will discuss how we’ve emerged from the pandemic and how we can rehumanize the care experience.


Key Points

COVID-19 Impact

  • McKinsey & Company research found that “telehealth use has increased 38X from the pre-COVID-19 baseline.”
  • The pandemic showed that the healthcare system can change, and it can change quickly when it wants to. It’s a matter of will, not ability.

Access to Care

  • The care experience has changed based on who you are.
  • If you are comfortable with and have access to technology, your care experience has likely improved.
  • But many individuals who are historically or currently excluded from healthcare have experienced diminished care since the pandemic began.
  • Disadvantaged populations — usually those who live in rural communities, who are low-income, or who are very old — have become more disadvantaged.
  • Telehealth allows people in rural settings to access medical experts from other geographic areas.

Person-Centric Healthcare

  • Sometimes there is not a technical solution for what you are trying to do.
  • We need the right tech for the right person at the right time.
  • For example, giving a tablet with wireless access to a low-income person might be a great solution because it’s cheaper than sending a nurse to their home.
  • Clinicians get much less information from a phone call than from a video call. Yet Medicare will only pay for a 20-minute phone call while they will pay for an hour or more for a video call.

Health Equity

  • Barrier issues are often generational, but older people are not necessarily digital natives.
  • We blame age or cognition for an older person’s inability to use technology, but it’s actually because of different lived experiences. Try asking a teenager to use a rotary phone.

Developing Technology

  • We need to recognize that if younger people are the designers, the technology will be better suited to them.
  • Our advice is to create the world you want to age into.


  • At policy level, we need to advocate to make things easier and simpler.
  • We don’t need to add unnecessary complications to keep people from faking symptoms or data. No one wants to live in bad health.
  • We should reduce burdensome rules around what gets reimbursed and what doesn’t.

You can read a summary of all our 2022 healthcare conference coverage here, or check out specific coverage of each conference:

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