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Digital EmpathyHealthScreening

Putting Patients and Students First

By February 24, 2022No Comments

Keeping healthcare human requires persistent and determined efforts dedicated to maintaining the person to person connection. Digital Empathy champions humanism in healthcare by including empathy when designing the digital survey, transforming transactional relationships into deeper, ongoing, trusting relationships. Where conventional surveying methods lack personalization as they focus on the needs of data collectors, Digital Empathytransforms the data collection process by prioritizing the needs of its respondents. Organizations that harness the power of Digital Empathy in conducting surveys and assessments report higher patient engagement and satisfaction scores, decreased risk of missing critical information and more accurate data.

Reduce an Individual’s Health Risk

As part of putting patients first, Cleveland Clinic Canada runs the Executive Health program that aims to reduce an individual’s health risk factors using a preventative care model. Capturing complete information from patients was of utmost importance to measuring the success of this program. Using a generic digital survey tool to capture patient reported data, Cleveland Clinic struggled with the consistency and quality of data collected. Due to poor survey design, patients were not motivated to complete, leaving management with incomplete information. However, upon using a survey built on the principles of Digital Empathy, Cleveland Clinic saw a 42% increase in patient usage as well as greater engagement. This information greatly helped the program executives to ensure the efficiency of the program in terms of resource planning and reducing administrative cost. Digital Empathy revealed an entirely new understanding of patient needs and levels of satisfaction with the clinic’s services, further supporting their ‘Patients First’ initiative.

Improve Youth Mental Health

In another scenario,  King County in Washington State was struggling with high suicide rates, which had increased by about 18 percent in the last decade. In an attempt to identify at-risk individuals and timely intervention, King County’s Department of Community and Human Services implemented a school-based Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program in 42 middle and high schools to identify and support those at risk.. Afraid of stigma, judgment, and lack of trust, young people often do not openly and honestly provide detailed information regarding their lives and challenges and fears they face. 

Employing the principles of Digital Empathy, King County used a youth friendly, screening tool called Check Yourself that helped school staff to look beyond the problems of a student and inquire about their well being, relationships and strengths. The approach helped students become more forthcoming with information, enabling counselors to witness an improvement in the detection of risk factors not previously known and connecting students with appropriate community services or followup interventions, if needed. Students reported feeling more connected to their school, which helped them to do better in academics and extracurricular activities. 

Achieve Organizational Efficiency

Organizations keen to drive organizational efficiency, are turning to more inclusive and accessible surveys built on the principles of Digital Empathy. Taking steps that ensure capturing a diverse subset of data, representative of the population, isn’t just a moral imperative that can better health disparities – it is also a financial strategy that will help reduce costs while keeping people healthier, happier and out of hospitals longer. In an era where technology promises to revolutionize population health, keeping healthcare human with Digital Empathy is more important than ever.


This is the third of a three part blog series on “Unlocking the value of patient reported data in healthcare.” This blog presents Digital Empathy in action, highlighting organizations that are benefiting from the use of surveys built on Digital Empathy.