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Digital EmpathyHealthScreening

The Science Behind Digital Empathy™

By February 8, 2022March 15th, 2022No Comments

Healthcare is all about the patient. Effectively communicating with patients allows doctors to go beyond the basics of diagnosis and understand the lifestyle context which significantly impacts health outcomes. Capturing accurate patient data enables organizations to create a more personalized encounter, streamlines appropriate care, and improves the patient experience, outcomes and efficiencies. 

One size doesn’t fit all

Generic surveys, paper or digital, have been used routinely in healthcare to capture the information from patients. Unfortunately, traditional methods of capturing patient self-reported data are fraught with issues. Lack of personalization results in poor engagement, and therefore lack of meaningful data collected. 

Challenging the one-size-fits-all approach, Digital Empathy™ recognizes that different people have different needs. Drawing from a variety of design processes, Digital Empathy is a design system embedded in a self-reported data collection platform that personalizes the human experience. Digital Empathy considers individuals’ unique attributes like age, gender, geography, culture, language and literacy level. This approach creates trust and invokes a willingness within a person to share their unique voice, transforming transactional relationships into trusting relationships.

Enhancing communication with Digital Empathy

Empathy is at the heart of effective patient and physician communication. Within the context of healthcare, traditional empathetic characteristics can be understood as a physician’s ability to “(a) understand the patient’s situation, perspective and feelings, (b) communicate that understanding and check its accuracy and (c) act on that understanding with the patient in a helpful (therapeutic) way.”1 Digital Empathy leverages this enhanced communication using the core principles of empathy – compassion, cognition, and emotion – in designing technology to enhance the human experience.

Digital Empathy surveys screeners assessments illustration

The four pillars of Digital Empathy™

The governing premise of Digital Empathy is to provide individuals with a safe, comfortable, trauma-informed space to disclose honest and complete information. Addressing communication barriers for different audiences of focus, Digitally Empathetic surveys create greater engagement, resulting in higher response and completion rate from respondents. The four pillars of Digital Empathy which enable surveys to collect more meaningful data are:

  • Engage: Responsive & reactive to keep person’s attention, activism, and motivation
  • Entrust: Contextualized & personalized with clear goals & privacy/security confirmed
  • Encourage: Ease-of-use, comfortable literacy & cognitive load levels
  • Empower: Exhibit feelings of safety, security, being heard, and empowered.

When each voice is heard, populations thrive.


This is the second of a three-part blog series on unlocking the value of patient reported data in healthcare. Our first blog discussed the challenges in collecting patient reported data. Stay tuned for our next blog that showcases Digital Empathy in action, highlighting organizations that are benefiting from the use of surveys build with Digital Empathy.


[1] Gonzalez, Nina Margarita (2017, February 18). A Framework for Designing Digital Health Tools with Empathy. Journal of Participatory Medicine.