When it comes to our health, we’re (mostly) in the driver’s seat, but for many people it can sometimes feel like they’re missing the roadmap that tells us where we’re headed next. After all, most people see at least four different doctors and specialists annually, from their primary care physician to a dentist and dermatologist and optometrist and everyone in between — and that’s just for preventive care, which an individual tends to be on the hook to coordinate.

Recently, we asked hundreds of people to tell us more about the major challenges and frustrations they have with their overall care and how they use Abridge to fill in the gaps. Many people told us that these different providers and specialists can add up to a lot to remember — and even more to follow through on. That’s where Abridge comes in, making it easier to both follow up and follow through, so that next steps are clear. Here’s a recap of the 5 things we learned.  

1. There’s often a mismatch between verbal and written instructions — and Abridge connects the dots.

Many people told us that, even for the most basic routine appointments, they have next steps from their doctors that are hard to remember. The problem is exacerbated by the written takeaways patients receive after a visit. These paper printouts are often generic, rarely personalized, and don't always match up to memory. As one user put it, “Their verbal explanations were far more detailed, and in some cases different, [than] the info provided as part of the written… instructions. It's very difficult to adequately recall [detailed] instructions such as these or the results of a lengthy Q&A with a medical professional.” Abridge solves that issue, because everything is recorded and highlighted for easy access and review.

2. Abridge makes it convenient to coordinate care.

We heard again and again from people that they’re short on time, and the lack of interoperability across systems and the lack of coordination of care between providers makes it hard to take charge and keep track of what to do next. “I have several of my own doctors and doctors for my son, and many use different systems and portals. I have to log in to 4 or 5 different portals to get all the information,” one user told us. But Abridge “keeps the information all in one spot and is easily accessible,” making it more convenient to follow through. And many people are doing just that, taking the next step to actually coordinate care across the providers they see directly. “Abridge allows me to have meaningful discussions with my care team by effectively sharing knowledge across all of the members of my care team, which in turn directly impacts my care plan to my benefit,” one user said.

3. Better records to review means better follow through.

This one came through loud and clear. Better records are the building blocks of follow-through, and many people told us that they feel more confident and better equipped to follow through on their providers’ advice thanks to Abridge. “When you're able to review visits quickly, you can follow your doctor's advice,” one user told us. This can also result in fewer followup phone calls asking for additional info or clarification — saving both patients and providers time by simply allowing everyone to focus on next steps.

4. Abridge helps people spot patterns.

Especially for routine visits, discussions with providers don't always result in immediate next steps. And the reality is that, sometimes, providers lack visibility into previous visits or other aspects of our health.  But context is important to overall care, and like it or not, the onus is often on the individual to supply this context — or even spot patterns — because over time, these visits contribute to a larger picture of one’s health. “Documenting those discussions can be helpful for establishing a trend and/or history,” one user told us.

5. Many people rely on family to help them follow through, and Abridge helps everyone stay on the same page.

People told us that they often want to keep family members in the loop for a variety of reasons, ranging from making them aware to relying on them to help make decisions on next steps. But they also told us that the primary challenge, historically, has been sharing context and ensuring everyone is working from the same information — something that Abridge helps solve. “I’ve reviewed physician guidance, considered recommendations, shared findings (the visit conversation) with my spouse,” one user said. Next, he said he’d plan to send visit information to his adult children for their review and family discussion.

We think empowering people to follow through on their health is critical — which is a big part of the reason why we are continually seeking feedback on how we can do more to make this easier. Feedback like this directly guides how we build the product, so if you have any thoughts on how we can help people feel confident in their next steps, please reach out at hello@abridge.com.

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