Minimalism in healthcare can be expressed in various aspects, such as in the handling of data, treatment methods, how healthcare professionals render care, the design and development of digital health solutions, adjunct therapies, rehabilitation, and other medical concepts.
The minimalism principle follows the idea that less is more, which means using the least but most effective resources every time.
We can trace minimalism to its first expression in New York in the 1960s among young artists who created a new style in their art using fewer abstract expressions and focusing on sleek and simplistic works.
Minimalism became mainstream in the 2000s after spreading to various areas of life in the late 20th century.
From arts, minimalism has moved to living (called simple living) to influencing work, healthcare, and all aspects of life. It has become popularly accepted with the saying “less is more.”
In collecting information through surveys, we use the principle of minimalism to ensure that the questions are straightforward and answers are provided concisely.
Minimalism has been applied by data engineers in digital health and health tech to build various structures for data collection, analysis, organisation, and interpretation.
It’s also applied in designing and developing healthcare solutions, from medical devices and consumables to administration processes and all healthcare aspects.
In an article published by Jim Gera, SVP of business development, Signature Medical Group Inc., he talked about the minimalist approach to healthcare where he describes Dr Leazenby of Relish Health LLC’s experience with burnout and how she embraced the minimalist approach in her micropractice helping her to become more of value to her patients, maximising resources and increasing her quality of life.
The primary aim of implementing the idea of minimalism in healthcare is simply to improve the quality of care, reduce costs, and improve patient satisfaction.
As reported in their article on medical minimalism, Pritikin Luxury Wellness Retreat shared the story of a patient who was taking a combination of numerous medications (17 medications and 15 supplements and herbs) that sent the patient, who happened to be a businessman into a drug-induced stupor.
The attending physician at Pritikin thoroughly scrutinised all his medications and discovered some very risky combinations. At the end of his stay, he was going back with just One Pill!
Healthcare professionals can practically incorporate the principle of minimalism into their approach to work and patient care; this involves handling daily tasks with simplicity and creating a work environment with spacious desks, neutral colours, optimal lighting, and minimal distractions. This approach aims to improve efficiency and ultimately enhance the quality of services provided to patients and clients.
The idea of minimalism does not in any way eliminate the need to be thorough and detailed. It only emphasises the importance of using less to achieve more by eliminating excess joints, bends and processes.
In healthcare, this would mean ensuring that the patient or client gets the most “lean” type of care while preserving the quality of care rendered and prioritizing patient safety and satisfaction.
The patient goes home with the most important drug prescriptions, is subjected to the most important medical tests, is exposed to minimal doses of potentially harmful medical substances like x-rays and chemotherapy, isn’t caught up in lengthy paperwork and organisational and administrative intricacies; the list goes on and on.
As we approach patient care as nurses, doctors, pharmacists, medical laboratory scientists, and healthcare data professionals, let us always have it in our hearts to make the patient and client experience as smooth as possible by applying minimalist principles, where less is always more.