The role of the patient in value-based healthcare: A patient-centric approach
Due to financial and population pressures the way we deliver healthcare must change. We must find more efficient ways to deliver better healthcare outcomes. Alongside this, given our ageing population, we need to keep people healthier longer.
For this reason, everything must change in healthcare delivery including the patient. We must all adopt a self-care approach and take more responsibility for managing our long-term health. This is an enormous shift in mind-set from where we are today.
One way that we can help promote self-care is using wearables and connected devices – the technology we can access on our person or at home, such as bracelets, blood-pressure readers, scales, glucometers and so on. The adoption of these devices could have multiple benefits.
The first benefit is, obviously, better health outcomes through:
- The detection of minor changes from one day to another might help in the prevention area by detecting earlier any potential health concerns.
- Helping identify and respond to deterioration in health and well-being by monitoring physical activity, well-being, fatigue and stress levels.
- Engaging with patients so that they can become proactive with self-managing their life-long condition in a community care setting with alarms for medication reminders and other alerts on exercise, diet and lifestyle.
- Connecting with care professionals, family and other community supports, so that they can help provide better care.
Data driven healthcare
The second benefit is in the area of data collection, analysis and improving outcomes. This additional data stream could provide vital information on ways of improving outcomes. The data could show which drug regimens work best for a particular demographic, which environmental factors influence outcomes and the best ways to manage particular health conditions.
This wealth of data could provide an exciting stream of information for Government Health bodies to inform their health policy decision making and drug buying.
A further benefit is in allowing a patient’s caregivers – both formal and informal – access to information they may not otherwise routinely have. A caregiver may be able to see if the person they’re caring for has been eating regularly or is managing to take their medication at the right time. This also means that handovers of information when a patient moves from one caregiver to another can be seamless. Errors in care can be dramatically reduced with all the information available, electronically, in one place.
The final benefit is cost. Promoting preventative health measures and self-care by citizens can have a positive impact on the cost of healthcare long-term. By transferring some of the responsibility to citizens, people can be cared for better in the community.
So what are the barriers to uptake?
Not all wearables are medically certified. For this reason it can be hard for a health organisation to endorse a particular product.
Secondly, an infrastructure is needed around wearables to control and manage the data – keeping it secure and ensuring patients can access all their information in one place is part of the challenge. The other part is anonymizing and being able to use the data collected to improve health outcomes, which must be the goal for value-based healthcare.
A final barrier, and perhaps the hardest, is culture. Our health practitioners and health organizations need to embrace this change. That can mean shifting mind-sets from treatment to prevention.
But the biggest change needs to come from the citizen. We all must be encouraged and equipped to take an active role in our own health. Wearables and connected devices can provide fantastic assistance but only the wearer can make the real difference!