Using data to put the patient at the heart of healthcare
The best ideas are the simple ones. So it is with Patient Centricity, which places the individual at the heart of personalised healthcare. It is an idea that could be described as radically simple.
Give patients their data.
That single action is the essence of Patient Centricity, a simple concept that has the potential to solve so many complex problems. By definition, the patient is the subject at the centre of his or her healthcare. So it makes sense to make the patient the single, central point at which their important medical information is collected and held. That way, every clinician, every treatment, every system – every single interaction – can access the most accurate and recent information at the point of contact.
Such an approach offers opportunities to reduce complexity, errors and costs, while increasing efficiency and improving outcomes. It requires little organisational change – Patient Centricity doesn’t require that existing systems and processes have to alter.
Patient Centricity does not rely on technology. Information can be given back to the patient in any format. However, advances in digital technology and the ubiquity of computers and mobile devices provide a naturally efficient way to achieve it.
All that is needed is a means for giving patients their information at each interaction. The patient then has a consistent, complete record that is of value to them as well as to the health services they use.
The patient is the source of patient data.
This is Patient Centricity.
Empowered patients powering better services
Public health services can never have enough money. To provide universal, state-of-the-art care, free at the point of delivery is an eye-wateringly expensive aspiration. The fact that services such as Britain’s NHS are as good as they are is mostly thanks to the people that work in them.
The fact is, hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses, specialists, equipment, and medicines are expensive. Our population is growing. We are living longer. Meanwhile, obesity and diabetes are increasing at alarming rates. Modern medicines extend the life expectancy of those with chronic conditions. The increase in burden on our public health services shows no sign of slowing. To meet such swelling demand, how much money would be enough? More than the public purse could afford.
So rather than pursuing more money, should we not be pursuing new ways to deliver the healthcare we want?
Because, even with abundant finance, the way services are delivered are out of step with the way we live today and the technology that we otherwise take for granted.
Against a backdrop of scarce resources, the idea of healthcare that is personalised around an individual’s needs seems like the preserve only of the very wealthy. Patient Centricity means that doesn’t have to be the case. Personalised healthcare is possible at scale because it enables enormous savings and efficiencies. Instead of massive IT infrastructure projects to hold, manage and move patient data around the myriad parts of the healthcare system, the patient performs those functions in the course of receiving treatment of visiting the doctor.
Data is shared and added to at each interaction. It comes directly from the patient, making it the most accurate and up-to-date patient data possible. And only the necessary, relevant data need be shared.
Services get better quality data. Organisations’ responsibility for storing, maintaining and moving data is reduced.
Perhaps the most compelling part is the agility such an approach brings to healthcare services. New ways of doing things become possible, new opportunities for innovation are unlocked. The technology that makes all this possible is getting more commonplace all the time. We carry much of the capability in our smartphones.
Patient Centricity gives each of us greater control over our important healthcare information, and in ways that make for better services and, hopefully, better outcomes. And it allows health services to become more efficient, more responsive and better able to focus resources where they can make the biggest impact.