How the Health Care System Can Work Better: The High-Need Patient’s Perspective

Tanya Shah
Meredith Brown
Becky Reed
December 2016

This resource provides personas, which are character profiles aggregated from a collection of interviews with members of a population, for three subgroups of the high-need population. The personas were developed from 44 interviews that offered firsthand insights into what aspects of the health system or a person’s life experiences might negatively affect a patient’s experience of care — and how providers might improve those experiences. Within each of the three segments, numerous factors shaped the development of two or more personas:

  • For individuals managing at least three major chronic conditions that often limit their ability to do things like get out of bed, dress, or bathe themselves, two patient personas surfaced: “Struggling Sam” and “Coping Claire.” People experience different outcomes based on the level of social support, personal coping mechanisms, cost and convenience of care, and the quality of their provider relationships. Read more about these personas here.
  • For individuals under 65 living with a disability, three patient personas emerged: “Hurting Hannah,” “Jaded Jasper,” and “Accepting Amber.” People best fit into one of these three personas based on acceptance of their disability, the visibility of their disability, their adaptability, and their level of trust in their provider. Read more about these personas here.
  • For individuals who are frail older adults, defined as those over age 65 with functional limitations, two personas emerged: “Declining Dorothy” and “Active Albert.” People in this group have different outcomes based on their outlook, motivation to be independent, access to and willingness to accept help, and the level of care coordination they experience. Read more about these personas here.
Posted to The Playbook on
Population Addressed
Adults Under 65 with Disabilities
Frail Older Adults
People with Multiple Chronic Conditions
Key Questions Answered
  • What are the experiences of high-need patients?  
Level of Evidence
Expert Opinion
What does this mean?