A Patient's Journey at the Hospital

Sep 8, 2022

A step into any hospital, and you will see either worried patients or rushed hospital staff—right from the reception down to the cafeteria, even in the best run and most well-equipped hospitals.

The first few hours for Peter, even though he is in for a planned surgery, are confusing. It becomes only marginally easier as time passes. He is a tad shaken up, and he has administrative procedures to wrap his head around.

Nurse Derek knows Peter’s wait isn’t easy, and he has tons of questions. Doctor Meredith can get to Peter only after Peter is done with the formalities and she is done with her morning rounds.

The route from the registration desk to the ward to the pharmacy to the lab feels like a maze to Peter as he has to get some initial tests done. Despite his best efforts, fear is taking over, in addition to him being confused and shaken up.

They watch doctors, nurses, hospital staff move with purpose, from room-to-room, corridor-to-corridor. And yet, there’s no escaping the anxiety induced by uncertainty.

As things begin to settle down and Peter is assigned a room, he is comforted by the doctors and the nurses. At the same time, he cannot help feeling uneasy with the medical jargon that the doctors and nurses use amongst themselves. Is there something he needs to know but isn’t understanding? The unebbing flow of questions continues after the procedure. They are just different ones now—about the success of the surgery, about the care that needs to be taken now, about when he can go home, about what’s to be done once he gets home.

Once he is home too, it is no mean task for Peter to understand and remember which of the ten tablets he is supposed to take twice a day, which thrice and which one is SOS! That’s not surprising considering, over a third of US adults—77 million people—would have difficulty with following directions on a prescription drug label or adhering to a schedule.

This is not about general education or literacy levels; it is about the mind not being used to processing and retaining such information. A mistake or misunderstanding here could mean the difference between a good recovery and relapse or rehospitalization.

Hospital resources vs. patient anxiety

In a bird’s eye view, three key issues stand out. If resolved, they can make the hospital and patient relationship stronger and healthier:

Information gap

A lot of the confusion in the registration and room service part of the hospital stay can be attributed to the patient and their family not knowing the dos and don’ts, though it is readily available. For instance, Peter wouldn’t know visiting hours and would end up asking the first professional they meet. The same goes for finding their way to the ward, cafeteria, or pharmacy.

Lack of Companionship

When one is hospitalized, even for a minor procedure, they are likely to feel vulnerable and wanting of support. And this support is known to go a long way in recovery. Fortunately, Peter has a support system, but that’s not true for all patients. And some who do may not have a caretaker around all the time.

Health Illiteracy

Health literacy is the capability to understand health information and the capacity to make health decisions—especially for care after hospitalization. Currently, information passed on to the patient and their families is too complicated. Misunderstanding labels and taking medications incorrectly is more commonplace than we would think. Even the most educated and literate, like Peter, might not know medical terms, acronyms, details of body functions. This information can be overwhelming, especially when they are worried about their health. Also, self-care can be complicated in many cases.

How Lana is creating a win-win situation balancing patient needs with staff efficiency

Fortunately, addressing these issues is known to reduce anxiety during the stay and bring down cases of readmissions. Easy-to-use, voice-activated software, such as Lana, can be employed by hospitals to make information easily accessible. It can be used to unclog the blocks in the way of effective patient-hospital communication. Moreover, it can also serve as a helpful assistant when the patient needs something, an efficient guide that answers questions, and a distracting companion when they are in pain.

These services can be availed at all three stages:

Before operation and treatment

Once onboarded by the hospital, the app introduces Peter to his care team. It also allows him to familiarize himself with the ensuing medical procedure. From the treatment plan to the doctor’s next visit—all the information is now at the tip of his fingers. Actually, at the tip of his tongues, because all commands are voice-activated.

During the hospital stay

If Peter feels cold, he or his caretaker doesn’t need to walk out of his room to fetch the hospital staff, requesting them to dial the temperature up. They can just talk to the app. If he needs an extra blanket, he can as easily pass on the instruction to the app. Which will notify the right hospital staff.

Likewise, if Peter is feeling feverish and speaks into the phone, the app would call a nurse or a doctor without invoking a pass-on-the-message game, thereby saving everyone’s time. His actual pain, fever, and other vitals are monitored anyway, either automatically or through direct patient input. An automatic trigger notifies the relevant hospital personnel as necessary.

Peter could also choose to be distracted by a TV show or a movie or even play a game. When not in the mind space to engage with a series or a game, he can pick soothing music or other relaxation techniques that the software has in store. Such entertainment has shown to help with pain management. This is especially handy when the illness requires the patient to isolate.

Home care

Once home too, Lana can continue to liaise between Peter and the relevant hospital staff through its post-discharge flow. From medicine and exercise reminders to the actual exercises—the software is with the patient. At each step, medical jargon is simplified. For instance, medicine reminders have color and size identifiers to avoid confusion caused by difficult-to-decipher names. It is known that many patients are averse to written information. Such codes help demystify critical at-home processes. Software like Lana’s thus brings relief on all three fronts: filling the information gap, providing companionship, and creating health literacy.

At the other end of the relationship, it reduces doctor, nurse and staff workload. This is especially handy when many patients use the internet to get more information and might end up being misguided. As a side-effect, contactless care reduces the risk of infection to the hospital staff too. Time, effort and costs are saved by reducing the use of PPE kits.

From caretaker to companion, the software can go a long way to be by the patient’s side and provide their families with a helping hand. And all this while sharing the hospital load.


  1. America's Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information
  2. Exploring the hospital patient journey: What does the patient experience?
  3. Health Literacy and Hospital Length of Stay: An Inpatient Cohort Study
  4. Patient engagement in the inpatient setting: a systematic review