Smart connections with a human touch

Simon Young | 25th January 2017

Technology is changing the fabric of our society. The way we build, maintain and benefit from relationships is dramatically evolving through the emergence of new technologies. This has an enduring impact on how we seek information, guidance, and specifically, how we interact with those who influence our decision-making process. In healthcare, the connection between the patient and expert continues to be a pivotal part of the patient experience.

Simon Young, Director at Blue Latitude Health, discusses how advances in technology are influencing the future of the expert-patient relationship and why healthcare businesses must evaluate how best to support the future role of the expert.

Technology as an enabler of change in the patient-expert interaction

The evolving health ecosystem is shifting the onus of healthcare from the expert to the individual. For some years now, there has been a growing emphasis placed on patient involvement in critical decisions about treatment and in the provision of healthcare more broadly. Today, shared decision-making is becoming an intrinsic part of consultations, revolutionising the relationship between the healthcare professional (HCP) and patient. Furthermore, health and wellbeing are becoming an ever-closer union. Access to technology is improving our understanding of health, but can also enable us to monitor and adapt our own behaviour to achieve self-determined health goals. What follows is far greater visibility and control over our own health status, driving a far greater level of individual accountability for health than previously seen.  

With greater democratisation of healthcare around the individual, there is a growing recognition of the patient as experts in their own right. This expertise brings a critical perspective on the patient experience, offering vast potential to transform disease management and directly impact outcomes. The patient expert has emerged as a major influencer, not only within individual treatment pathways, but also across the broader healthcare landscape.

With this greater level of patient involvement and participation, it is more important than ever that HCPs are able to work together effectively. Integrated workflows should support individuals from diagnosis to decisions on treatment and ongoing management. Healthcare professional teams are multidisciplinary by design, however there remain significant challenges in establishing a truly integrated model. Nonetheless, with strong policy and technology drivers, professional groups are now driving more collaborative approaches to working across disciplines and across physical spaces.

These forces are mobilising healthcare provision closely around the individual with networked support from experts. There is no question that technology will continue to act as an enabler of change in the interaction between experts and patients. But to identify the biggest opportunities, we need to also understand how consumer behaviour is evolving in a technology-driven world and what impact this is likely to have on healthcare provision.

 

Read the full article in the 2017 Trends issue of Perspective magazine

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