HERN

Key research findings

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An Innovative Methodology for Studying/Disseminating Patients’ Experiences. As use of web-based health information increases, the influence of patients’ experience has also grown rapidly. It can often be difficult, however, for users to identify authentic experiences and rigorous research on the web.

In response to this concern, researchers at four U.S. universities and the Veterans Administration have formed the Health Experiences Research Network (HERN) and brought an internationally-vetted method of rigorously collecting, analyzing, and presenting diverse health experiences to the United States. At the heart of this work is a commitment to marrying systematic qualitative research studies about patients’ health experiences with the development of public-facing, web-based resources.

Our initiative provides accessible, engaging, systematically-collected qualitative summaries, or “modules.” Through multimedia clips, modules convey insights as patients’ describe experiences with health and health care. Each module is set in the context of current clinical best practice and the evidence-base related to its specific illness or health condition. The collection of these modules is publicly accessible online at www.healthexperiencesusa.org.

A key strength of HERN’s research methodology is maximum variation sampling, which assures the study seeks out and presents the broadest possible range of patient experiences. At the same time, it avoids inaccurately showcasing extraordinary stories or inspiring anecdotes. We also work hard to ensure that the resource is accessible.

Intended audiences for the completed module:

  • patients wanting to hear first-hand accounts about experiences with specific conditions
  • families, friends, and caregivers of such patients;
  • medical educators, clinicians, and researchers
  • policy-makers

Our research

Filling a gap during COVID-19

Our team is working with partners around the country and around the world to adapt our qualitative research methodologies for on-line implementation.

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Health Experiences USA

Our research brings patients’ voices to American health care. We seek to describe the widest possible range of individual experiences from the patient’s point of view.

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Training partners, shaping curricula, to elevate patient experience

Our training efforts help ensure we can scale our efforts to meaningfully capture insights from patients and caregivers.

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Promoting Health System Innovations

Through unique partnerships, our research-driven projects help influence system improvements in real time.

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