Yasmin Brown

Yasmin Brown: A Patient’s Perspective on Healthcare

Yasmin Brown brings a patient’s perspective on healthcare to this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare podcast with Rob Oliver. This is part of the world record setting patient’s perspective interview marathon. It is interview 52 in the series. Yasmin Brown is from Pennsylvania. As you will hear, she has a diversity of experience in healthcare.

Here are 3 things that stood out as Yasmin Brown gave us a patient’s perspective on healthcare:

  • Healthcare Heroes address the patient’s medical needs but go beyond by offering comfort and support to the patient and the patient’s family.
  • To provide patient centered care, it is imperative that medical professionals truly listen to their patients.
  • The main component of quality healthcare is: Communication! Communication! Communication!

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Here is the transcript of Yasmin Brown presenting a patient’s perspective on healthcare:

Introduction to Yasmin Brown

Rob Oliver: Welcome. And I hope that I didn’t completely take you off guard by bringing you in a little bit early.

Yasmin Brown: No, that’s fine. It’s good to see you, Rob.

Rob Oliver: It’s good to see you as well, my friend. What is your name?

Yasmin Brown: My name is Yasmin Brown.

Rob Oliver: All right. And Yasmin, where are you from?

Yasmin Brown: I’m from McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

Rob Oliver: Yep, a wonderful place to be from. And, you know, being as I’m from White Oak, we’re, we’re basically neighbors, which is, yeah, just fantastic. So can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background in healthcare?

Yasmin Brown: Well, my background in healthcare goes back about 20-ish years ago. I started out in a clinical setting in the trauma unit at Presbyterian Hospital. And then I switched over a couple years later into the insurance side of the business. So I have a clinical background as well as an insurance background, in addition to being a patient, the parent of a patient and a daughter of patients.

Rob Oliver: It’s amazing how many hats you find out that you wear in the whole experience. So tell me, you know, are there any, among all of those hats that you’re wearing, are there any that really stand out to you? Like, you know, is it, are there more like personal needs that you experience? Or are there, you know, is it with your kids? Or, you know, where would you say is the, is the higher end needs for you in healthcare?

Yasmin Brown: The higher end needs is not so much as for myself. I’m actually kind of healthy. But having a daughter that was diagnosed as a child with something called nephrotic syndrome and me not knowing what it was or not being educated on kidney disease, I found a healthcare system. I actually spent a lot of time in healthcare as being the parent of a patient.

Recognizing Healthcare Heroes

Rob Oliver: Along that journey, have you met any healthcare heroes?

Yasmin Brown: I actually have met a lot of healthcare heroes. Shout out the UPMC Children’s Hospital. They were awesome in my daughter’s care. They educated me on what the actual disease was. They made the stay, her multiple stays in the hospital so comfortable where she was able to get tutors while I was staying in the hospital with her. I was able to actually get a room to sleep in, television, a telephone, laundry detergent to wash clothes, meal tickets. So they really not only, you know, kept her comfortable, but they were also able to alleviate some of the stress that I would have as a parent.

Rob Oliver: Yeah, so helpful. I had a previous guest who was reminding us all that medical professionals generally get us on one of the worst days of our lives, right? We’re not at our best when we’re going to see the doctor or going to see a therapist. And as a result, you know, what they do has an impact on either making our day worse or making our day better. And you know, I’m sure. Have you had that experience where they’re pushing, they push you one way or the other?

Yasmin Brown: Yes, I had several experiences where they may have pushed me to, I’d say the worst in I’ve actually gone in to see my doctor after like taking my blood pressure in one of those machines at Giant Eagle. And it actually squeezed my arm too tight and popped the blood vessel in my arm. So I went to the doctor because I had a knot in my arm in addition to the blood vessel being popped and the doctor kept going back and forth with me about the knot being in my arm. I’m like, it’s my body. I actually know what’s going on with my body. I live with it every day, but he kept going back and forth. And I was like, I’m not going to, you know, keep going back and forth. I know my body. So I asked for the attending doctor.

Rob Oliver: Yeah, that’s, nobody knows your body like you do. And how do you, how do you, or how did you learn to stick up for yourself in, in that?

Yasmin Brown: Just, I think more so my healthcare background helped me to stick up for myself because I have a diverse healthcare background in clinical and insurance. So when I’m at an appointment with myself, my daughter, or either one of my parents, I find it that it’s helpful to have some form of education in healthcare because oftentimes some doctors look at you and they don’t see a person. They just see a diagnosis and it’s sometimes not even the diagnosis that may be what you have. And they don’t take the time out to listen to the patient. They just want to like basically move you along. So I just find that a little troublesome.

Your Definition of Quality Healthcare

Rob Oliver: So I, I’ve been doing this for 14 hours and I think I’m right, but I’ll ask this. And if I asked it already, you can, you can tell me, I asked it already. What does quality healthcare mean to you?

Yasmin Brown: Quality healthcare to me means that the doctor actually is listening to the patient, hearing the patient, not just hearing what the patient is saying to quickly make a diagnosis or just quickly to give feedback, but truly hearing the patient have an empathy for the patient and being able to communicate in a way that the patient understands in a step by step process because communication to people that are not medical professionals is very important because they want to know what’s going on with their body. They want to know, you know, even if it’s a little bruise, they want to know how it formed, why it happened. You know, you have to provide those little details, those small details to your patient so that they know what’s going on.

What Medical Providers Need to Understand

Rob Oliver: Yeah, so true. What do you wish your medical provider understood about you?

Yasmin Brown: I wish that my medical provider would understand that I am human. I have feelings. I have emotions. And I need to understand or know what you know, maybe not in big medical terminology. Maybe some people say you can dumb it down or just make it a common communication language to ever per average person reads on the eighth grade level. If you can communicate somewhere along those lines to all patients, everyone would feel a lot better about the healthcare system because they wouldn’t know what is going on. And I know the stress now in the healthcare industry, it’s like hard to take the time out, but you still have to show that empathy in proper bedside manner to your patients.

Rob Oliver: Yeah. Again, that you use the word empathy, right? And we don’t, what’s the difference to you between empathy and sympathy? If I can? Because? Yeah, I should. I asked you the question, then I start to answer it myself. I will. Do you? Do you have an answer to that question?

Yasmin Brown: I think sympathy is kind of, as my daughter puts it, an enabler where you kind of, you sympathize with the patient and sometimes your sympathy becomes a crutch for that patient. Whereas empathy, you can still care and feel for the patient and what they’re going through, but you know that that is your patient. That is, it’s not personal for you, but it’s personal for them. And you’re able to show them using words or, you know, a hug or whatever that you too care about what they’re going through versus, you know, not, they might need physical therapy, but they just don’t want to do it. And you sympathize so much. So you’re like, okay, you don’t have to do it. That’s not going to make them better.

What Medical Providers Need to Understand (Revisited)

Rob Oliver: Right. Okay. What do you wish your medical providers understood about you?

Yasmin Brown: I wish my medical providers understood about me, that I’m, that I’m a human being and I have feelings and emotions. And, you know, when I come in, I want to be able to understand what’s going on with whatever problem I came in with, or if it’s, if I’m, you know, bringing someone to the doctors, I want to be able to understand, you know, what’s going on with them so that I can be able to communicate. If you’re not able to, as the doctor or nurse to communicate in a way that the patient understands, I at least want to be able to understand as the caregiver, to be able to tell the patient what you’re actually saying in a way that they understand.

A Suggestion to Improve Healthcare Quality

Rob Oliver: Got it. Okay. Last question for you. What is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare?

Yasmin Brown: Communication, communication, communication.

Rob Oliver: The three most important elements, right?

Yasmin Brown: Yes.

Rob Oliver: So, well stated, and listen, I think that’s a powerful way for us to wrap up your conversation. It’s all that and I’ll make a statement, I usually try and ask questions, but I’m going to make a statement that is, not only is it communication, but it’s, it’s bi directional communication, meaning it’s not just them expressing to the patient. It is them listening to the patient as well. That’s, that’s what communication is. It’s a, it’s a communication loop, not a communication arrow. Is that right? Would you agree with that?

Yasmin Brown: I do. I do.

Rob Oliver: All right. Wonderful. Yasmin, thank you just so much for joining me. I appreciate your support in this. I mean, this has been, it’s been a long day and your pleasantness. I think that I, I did ask you the same question twice at one point, but we won’t tell anybody. And as long as you, as long as you’re gracious and kind, I will let, we’ll let it go. So I appreciate you and I respect your perspective on healthcare.

Yasmin Brown: You’re welcome. And thank you for having me.

Rob Oliver: Bye bye.

Yasmin Brown: Byee

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.

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