The evolution of patients’ expectations

In 2023, the presenting patient to a medical institution is not the same persona as it was decades ago and certainly not pre-pandemic. Back then, the majority of patients were fearful, apprehensive, appeased, justifiably uninformed or unopinionated, which made discussions and participation in their treatment outcomes extremely difficult.

Today, we are sitting on the other side of the table taking the perspective of the patient into consideration where the analysis and assessment of the patients’ expectations is an invaluable tool to benchmark performance when providing healthcare service.

In January 2022, a publication in ScienceDirect explored peoples’ expectation of healthcare where it was understood that the background of participants, whether cultural or social, along with their past experiences would influence their perceptions and expectations.

In countries where there are significant political and racial disparities which influence professionalism, such situational parameters, should also be taken into considerations for objective performance assessments of service provided.

Expectations can be categorised into four types:
• Ideal expectations which are the patients’ desires

• Predicted expectations which are more practical or from personal experience

• Unformed expectations are out of choice or inability to articulate

• Normative expectations are what persons think ought to happen

Studies done on patient’s expectations were focused in three areas; health outcome of the patient, the health institution visited for treatment and the attending doctor.

With respect to the health institutions, the long waiting lines has definitely become a deterrent to seeking medical treatment. However, since we were forced to rethink and retool during the Covid-19 pandemic, some institutions introduced more convenient appointments and online pre-registrations which served a multi-purpose of saving time, maintaining confidentiality and reducing chances of errors or duplications.

Researchers, policy makers and practitioners should be interested in measuring the metric of patients’ expectations since healthcare institutions are interested in providing the highest quality of services to gain patient satisfaction and build trust.

The use of technology since Covid-19 has positively affected our adjustment to the new normal so much so that today patients’ expectations are aligned with the watchwords fast, safe and convenient when seeking any type of treatment or service. This has afforded both the health seeker and the health provider an imposed win-win modus operandi for efficiency and positive outcomes since it is estimated currently that telehealth and virtual care is 38 times more than the pre-pandemic phase.
However, the downside to technological use is the misguidance due to propaganda and fake news or unverifiable information which created a setback in activities such as the vaccination program which caused a further delay in progress and development.

Transparency and information sharing on success rates and risks involved and even full disclosure on inconclusive diagnoses are highly appreciated by patients and their relatives.

Patients do not want to be just a number but should be recognised as a person with a medical history and unique challenges which can only be deciphered from active listening which includes a two-way conversation with probing questions and not a one-way lecture.

Building trust is key for successful treatment outcomes. So, patients’ vulnerability from sensitive and confidential disclosures should be respected. Top-down decision imposed on patients rather than collaboration can cause patient resistance.

Connection with the patient on an emotional and sometimes spiritual level can raise the level of care provided. Patients are sometimes suspicious of ulterior motives from the healthcare provider based on previous experiences and can determine whether you are genuinely helping them or seeking monetary gain.

Respect is earned and sometimes it is the little things that matter to the patients and not the grand appearance of the health institution or the accolades on the signboard of a health institution displaying the list of highly qualified and competent staff.

Effective communication is tailor-made for the individual patient where you need to speak their language, whether creolese or a foreign language, so that explanations are made clear to the person. This may be a challenge for the care provider especially on clinic days when repetition of information is required. Apart from the information, the patient’s disposition must be considered in the process.

Patients’ expectations will vary depending on the patients’ needs. So, for example, patients who were once mobile but became disabled or immobile later on due to their illness should be given unique consideration such as home-based services on a quarterly basis or setup an outreach clinic specifically for shut-in.

If a survey is conducted locally, you may still find a substantial number of unformed expectations from patients who are unable to make sound decisions for their health and wellbeing due to their limited guidance to authentic information and their rights to healthcare accessibility.

For further discussion, contact the pharmacist of Medicine Express PHARMACY located at 223 Camp Street, between Lamaha and New Market Streets. If you have any queries, comments or further information on the above topic kindly forward them to or send them to 223 Camp Street, N/burg. Tel #225-5142.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.