Providers have an innate desire to help people. That passion is often what initially led them to their practice.

However, in the current healthcare system, helping people is not so easy. Under the fee-for-service model, providers aren’t able to deliver the care that patients need most. Members can’t afford care, and they’re sacrificing their well-being until their health concerns reach an emergency stage. In short, patients are getting sicker, and providers have their hands tied.

Let’s take a closer look at the issues plaguing providers in the current system.

  • Time is not on their side: A 2022 study conducted by the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found the average appointment for primary care was 18 minutes — not a lot of time for patients and providers to to discuss and gain an understanding of health concerns.
  • With the focus on volume, rather than developing strong relationships with patients, providers feel overworked yet unfulfilled. They’re stuck in a system of sick care, not healthcare.

There’s a better way for both providers and patients to achieve positive health outcomes, through empathetic listening that supports and encourages behavior change.

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Empathetic listening is possible through time-rich appointments

In a typical primary care visit, patients have on average seven minutes with their provider. They may get a referral or a prescription, but that’s about it — there simply isn’t time to dig deeper.

At Vera, our advanced primary care model is rooted in empathetic listening, an approach that enables providers to take the time to truly listen to patients’ concerns, and for patients to feel heard. Time-rich appointments allow for empathetic listening to happen. This open communication helps build strong relationships between providers and patients.

Empathetic listening helps to foster a collaborative environment, wherein patients are empowered to take ownership of their health. A deep understanding of the health of the whole person emerges from this strong communication. The result? Improved health outcomes.

Case in point: when Seattle Children’s partnered with Vera to open a near-site employee care center, the results were stunning:

  • An 80% drop in hospital stays
  • 10% drop in prescriptions
  • 20% drop in per member per month (PMPM) ambulatory expense
  • 4.6/5 patient satisfaction rating
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Empathetic listening helps providers practice medicine the way it was intended

The driving force behind empathetic listening is empowering people to invest in their health. In order to achieve positive health outcomes, patients need to be motivated to take the necessary steps toward better health and to make behavior change a priority.

At Vera, we are committed to spending time with patients, understanding where they are in their health journey and guiding them along their path. Our collaboration with Castlight Health makes that commitment stronger. 

With Castlight’s digital front door to healthcare, patient needs and concerns are always the focal point. This creates strong relationships that empower patients to take ownership of their health. In turn, it offers an environment in which providers are fulfilled, knowing that they are delivering care the way it should be.

Do you want to make a difference? Join us and be part of a dynamic team that values empathetic listening and coaching patients to better health. Apply today!

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Editor's Note: This is an updated version of the original post published March 19, 2020.


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