It’s Austin Joyce giving us a patient’s perspective on healthcare on this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare podcast with Rob Oliver. Austin is 27 years old and lives in Michigan. He has lived in several other locations over the past few years. Although he has limited experience in the healthcare system, his answers are thoughtful and insightful. This is interview 43 in the patient’s perspective interview marathon.
Here are 3 things that stood out as Austin Joyce shared a patient’s perspective on healthcare:
- To be a healthcare hero, medical professionals need to be knowledgeable and have a caring attitude towards the people they serve.
- Quality healthcare must include a timely response, accurate diagnosis, honest communication, and differing treatment choices for the patient.
- Even with electronic health records, there needs to be better interconnectivity between healthcare systems to facilitate the transfer of patient information.
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Here is the transcript of Austin Joyce giving us a patient’s perspective on healthcare:
Introduction to Austin Joyce
Rob Oliver: Welcome to the podcast, my friend.
Austin Joyce: Yeah, thank you.
Rob Oliver: What’s your name to start with?
Austin Joyce: Sure. Yeah, I’ll do a little introduction. So my name is Austin Joyce. I’m 27 years old and I live in Michigan near Detroit. And I grew up here until I was about, let’s see, I want to say 23. And then I spent some time in Nicaragua. I spent a year there helping with a missionary. And then after I came back from Nicaragua, I moved out to the West Coast for almost two years. Then I moved back to Michigan to be in your family back in 2019. So as far as, you know, from a healthcare medical perspective, nothing crazy. You know, I’ve had some kind of pretty typical injuries that you might expect playing sports, you know, broken collarbone, broken nose. You know, the probably the worst medical issue that I’ve had in my life has been a knee injury from playing soccer. I tore my LCL and MCL in my right knee, pretty bad playing soccer. And that’s something that plagued me for a number of years, but it’s been pretty good over the last, you know, three or four years or so. And nothing that required surgery, but the quite a bit of, you know, physical therapy and, and, you know, care taken when playing sports.
Rob Oliver: Okay, so you, you preemptively jumped me through two of my questions, which, which is okay. Um, can you, you’re talking, you’re talking a little bit about your background in, in healthcare. Are you, would you consider yourself to be like athletic or like, or, you know, are you kind of average or how does that work for you?
Austin Joyce: I mean, I would consider myself pretty run of the mill as far as like, you know, skill and ability goes. Um, I definitely, you know, growing up, I played a lot of sports, um, a lot of, you know, organized basketball growing up, um, you know, through high school and then played soccer, played, you know, whatever sport was going on that my friends were playing, you know, I would join in a lot of pickup, um, a bit of organized sports, but like, as far as, you know, skill goes, you know, it was just kind of run of the mill average. Um, you know, just enjoyed playing it for, for fun and the exercise, I guess, but nothing super competitive.
Recognizing Healthcare Heroes
Rob Oliver: Okay. Along your, along your journey, have you encountered any healthcare heroes that, you know, people that are doing it right?
Austin Joyce: Yeah. I mean, I would say as far as like healthcare heroes, there’s nobody that really sticks out in my mind is like, um, you know, a hero, but I would say that’s more to do with kind of the lack of an, you know, a need for a hero in my particular life because, because, you know, the, the medical issues that I’ve dealt with have been, you know, relatively minor, you know, compared to a lot of people. So, you know, when, when you talk about a hero, you really only need a hero if you’re in a position where you need, you know, to be rescued or something like that. You know, so I would say nobody really sticks out in my mind as a hero. Now that’s not to say I haven’t received great healthcare. You know, I have, I haven’t really had a bad experience, um, with healthcare. Um, so I would say I’ve received really good, um, healthcare. So that’s not really a comment on, you know, from a negative perspective about, you know, the people I’ve interacted with as far as healthcare goes, but it’s just more of a comment on my lack of a need for, I would say a healthcare hero.
Rob Oliver: Okay. In your mind, what would, what would constitute someone being a healthcare hero? You know, what would be the qualities?
Austin Joyce: Yeah. I mean, you know, obviously, obviously when we talk about doctors and medical professionals, you know, somebody that really knows their stuff is the first thing that sticks out. But I would say, you know, obviously ability from a medical perspective is, is certainly important when it comes to somebody being a hero. But I think really the most important is really the attitude that person has towards the patient. Um, like particularly if you think about a doctor who really is invested in the, the person and, and making sure that they follow through and, you know, put in the effort to, um, assist this person in figuring out a what’s wrong and B, you know, what to do to improve, um, their medical situation, whatever it is, you know, that, that is really what constitutes somebody as a hero in my book, you know, somebody that really puts in the effort and has the, um, you know, the, the care for the person, um, to, to really, uh, dig into whatever the issue is.
Rob Oliver: Okay. I think it’s a, it’s a great description.
The Austin Joyce definition of quality healthcare
What does quality healthcare mean to you?
Austin Joyce: Yeah. When it comes to quality healthcare, I would say there’s a number of things that come to my mind. Um, I mean, number one, uh, you know, the first thing that comes to mind for me is, uh, a timely response. Um, so, you know, if you start to have an issue, just the ability to be able to get into see a medical professional quickly, I think is really important to kind of, you know, be ahead of whatever issue it is that might be cropping up. Um, so I think a timely response, um, you know, being able to get access to something quickly, um, and then, you know, moving forward, I would say like, uh, accurate diagnosis is super important. Obviously, you know, if, if we don’t know what the issue is, it’s kind of hard to make progress. Um, and then I would say good communication from the healthcare professional is extremely important. And that’s both good communication being both, um, clear communication, but also just honest communication. Like, yeah, you know, personally, I would much prefer to get the, you know, just basically the straight up or the down low from whoever the medical professional is rather than, you know, having something given to me softly, I’d rather just hear honestly, what the issue is so that, you know, I can make the assessments for my own health and the decisions for my own health based on, you know, all of the information. And then lastly, I would say something that’s super important is a choice of treatment. So, you know, I, uh, so I’m an engineer and I really like to understand how things work. So for me, something that’s critically important is that, you know, when it’s communicated to me, what is the issue and what the potential treatments are or solutions that it’s explained how those relate back to what the issue is so that I can make a decision, you know, for myself based on, you know, say my doctor’s recommendation or nurse or whoever it may be. Um, and so that there’s kind of like a choice there and that kind of puts my own, you know, medical decision-making in my own hands where, you know, I’m obviously not the expert here. I’m not trying to make the diagnosis or decide, um, what treatment is required based on my diagnosis, but, you know, if, if, if a range of treatments is available, I would really love to know that so that I can, you know, make a choice for myself based on what the doctor is saying, the, the different avenues hold. So I think that’s important as a, as a choice of treatment, um, given to me.
What should medical providers know about you?
Rob Oliver: Okay. What do you wish your medical providers understood about you?
Austin Joyce: I would say something that I have found to be important, um, through my life is understanding the full picture or medical kind of history, um, of what’s going on, kind of like a holistic view of, cause the, the body’s a pretty, um, intertwined system. You know, a lot of different areas of the, the body and medicine touch other aspects of the body, you know, really nothing is kind of existing on its own. Um, and I, and I know there obviously are solutions, um, for, you know, keeping track of full medical history and whatever, but I have experienced in my life different times when you go to a doctor and, and, you know, it’s not their, it’s not their fault that they don’t know the history of, you know, the issues you’ve had. Like, for example, with my knee, it was something that plugged me for a long time is, um, you know, every time I went in, I would have to, you know, if I moved or had a different doctor, I’d had to go over this whole explanation of the history of it and, you know, what the issues have been and what has helped and what hasn’t and whatever. I like, I think it’s really important to, to be able to, I don’t know, have some sort of like, um, almost like centralized, uh, location where you can store that information and easily share that, you know, between medical professionals, because it’s, you know, in, in some of my family members, um, history, you know, there’s been times when things have been missed because, you know, it was reliant upon the patient who sometimes is forgetful or, you know, doesn’t understand the ramifications of some of these medical issues. Um, and so it’s, you know, it’s up to them to explain the history and, and it’s just been missed. So I think it’d be, it’d be great if there was some way to just like basically tie in all of these medical professionals to some sort of, um, medical history, um, kind of database. So you can, so that it would be extremely easy for everybody, um, in the medical profession to see, you know, what the past has been for this particular patient and what has occurred in their life, um, that may be contributing or may be affected by whatever medical decisions they might be making. So I would say, you know, that, that would be something that I would consider super important for medical professionals or providers to understand is just kind of the full picture of the medical history of somebody.
Rob Oliver: Okay. I, in this day and age, they’re working on, I think they call them EHRs, electronic health records or EMRs. I think I’ve heard them referred to both ways at electronic medical records. Um, and yet it seems like what you’re talking about is there, there’s a communication gap in there somewhere. Um, and can you, where do you see that gap taking place? Um, you know, in your experience, whether it’s for yourself or for someone else, where do you see that gap?
Austin Joyce: Yeah. So like, for example, being in Michigan, I’ve been tied into the university of Michigan medical system, since I was pretty young. And so what I find great is that if I go to the, you know, U of M medical system, they do have that record, but then, you know, you go to a local family doctor, they’re not tied into that system or you move across the country and you, you know, you find some other medical system and they’re not connected to the same, you know, electronic medical record, um, system. And that’s where things kind of fall off. And, and, you know, I do think it’s probably something that’s just going to take time for those to all get interlinked and have the information passed, um, between each other. And, uh, you know, it’s just, uh, it’s something that I could see being extremely helpful for somebody, especially if they’re not, you know, within the same medical system, um, you know, for long periods of time.
Rob Oliver: Yeah. I think it’s, you’re fortunate with that because some of the, some of the guests that I’ve had on so far, I’ve talked about the interconnected problems that there are when you are, you know, when you’re between health systems or when there are competing health systems or whatever the situation is, and somehow your information is in your information in one system is not translated into your information in the other system. And you end up with a disconnect where they don’t have that, you know, the providers don’t have the information that they need in order to, to make the connection. I that’s, that’s so frustrating. And I think that your idea on how to improve that is, you know, or the need to improve that is spot on and needs to be, needs to be heard.
A strategy to improve quality healthcare
Can you tell me, so what is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare? Or is that kind of, that may have been covered a little bit in your last answer.
Austin Joyce: Yeah. I mean, I would say, you know, for the medical history thing, that’s more of like kind of a medical provider, you know, you know, 30,000 foot views sort of thing. But like when you get down to like the, you know, the medical professionals, like the individuals, I would say probably the biggest thing that somebody could do to improve their own personal healthcare and how they interact with others is to connect with the patient in like a personal way. And this is something I kind of tied into with like the, with your question about the healthcare hero is that, you know, somebody that really cares about the person as a person, not just as like a, you know, a patient with a number or, you know, a 30 minute time period or whatever, but somebody, you know, looking at them as a person who has a life, a family has, you know, deals with whatever issue that they’re explaining on a day to day basis and really, you know, try to connect on a personal level and see them as a person. And I really think this is something that, you know, if I were to tie it back to like, you know, a religious theme when you’re talking about the gospel, you know, if you can look at somebody and see them as a person rather than just like a face or a name, but see them as a person, you know, realize that, you know, they have like the center of their world is them as much as like, you know, we focus on our own lives and think about ourselves and think about our day to day lives. Like every single person has that for themselves. And they’re kind of the center of their own world. It’s, you know, if you can kind of tap into that by, you know, looking at somebody and thinking about them as a person and really connecting with that, then I think it’ll go a long way in just, you know, kind of motivating you to care for them and try and, you know, figure out what the issue is for them. You know, whether that’s, you know, in the metaphor that I’m using, you know, the spiritual sense or, you know, here in the health care sense, you know, if a health care provider really connects and takes, you know, a care for who the person is and what their issue is, I think it’d go a long way for, you know, helping motivate for figuring out what the issue is.
Rob Oliver: Yeah. I mean, I think you’re spot on in that and, you know, I appreciate you sharing that idea. Listen, Austin, I’m going to tell you, it’s been a pleasure to talk with you. Is there anything else that you would like to share before we wrap up our time together?
Austin Joyce: No, I don’t really have anything particular on my mind. I think that’s good.
Rob Oliver: All right. Austin, thank you so much for being here.
Austin Joyce: Yeah, no problem.
Rob Oliver: I appreciate you. I appreciate you taking the time, and I appreciate you sharing your perspective on healthcare.
Austin Joyce: Yeah, no problem. Thank you.
Rob Oliver: All right. Take care.
Austin Joyce: Yep.
Rob Oliver: Bye.
Austin Joyce: Bye.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.