Stakeholders across the healthcare sector intersect in many constructive ways, but all too often, operational issues such as pricing and regulation take precedence over the underlying purpose for collaboration: the patient. Understanding a day in the life of patients and caregivers provides clarity about their common human experiences and supports the development of programs that account for the needs of not only navigating the continuum of care, but also everyday life.
How should organizations approach patient-centricity to generate meaningful, sustainable engagement?
RD: Patient-centricity involves designing services and engagement methods around patients, caregivers and families. In a patient-centric mindset, motivations go beyond revenue and marketing initiatives. Patient-centric programs empower patients to take control of their own health, working in a way that shows respect, compassion and openness, and working in partnership with all stakeholders (Source: BMJ Innovations). A successful rollout reshapes core areas including organizational vision, payer decision-making, clinical trials and collecting and activating on shared patient insights, among others.
Trust and openness can be a challenge. Healthcare is extremely personal and people don't always feel comfortable telling large organizations about their personal situations. However, they are comfortable sharing with others who are in similar situations. A successful organization finds ways to connect patients and takes part in those conversations.
What are some examples of successful collaboration?
RD: To better understand opportunities to bring together leaders across the healthcare ecosystem, it is helpful to learn from current trends that drive care and value for patients.
One of the more complex elements of healthcare today is managing costs. Stakeholders can demonstrate patient-centric intentions by re-examining how care is delivered, experienced and paid for. On the clinical and provider fronts, NGOs such as Costs of Care are leading efforts to source, curate and disseminate knowledge from patients and frontline clinicians to enable better care at lower cost.
There is also growth in the number of participatory patients or “e-patients”— those who play an involved role in their own care or caregiving by seeking information on medical conditions, becoming involved in patient forums and support groups (online or in-person) and building more active relationships with physicians. These conversations bring together various perspectives and areas of expertise that support both medical and emotional care.
What role can technology play in generating meaningful patient engagement?
RD: Technology is an essential factor in achieving patient-centricity, but generating return on technology investment requires a commitment to human-centeredness. Emerging technologies that sense, filter and learn help streamline decision-making across the healthcare value stream.
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) provides the ability to filter through data from multiple parties (e.g., payers, market research, academic findings, etc.) more rapidly — reducing human error and speeding up decision-making. Leveraging AI can automate administrative work and provide organized information about potential treatments and medications, freeing up time for physicians to focus on care and engaging with patients and caregivers.
Many stakeholders also find value in using robotic process automation (RPA) to organize, shield, encrypt and report sensitive patient data. Using “bots” to link electronic medical records and CPT systems, and software to capture and interpret data, can result in faster decision making at the point of care and speed up intelligence for agreements that take place on back channels between non-patient facing entities such as billing and coding.
How can embracing patient-centricity, with the help of technology, position organizations for success as the industry moves towards value-based care?
RD: Value can be defined as the health outcomes achieved measured against money spent. Coordination across stakeholders is essential to exploiting intelligence-based technologies that help keep the focus on the patient. Automated and self-learning processes can enhance organizations' ability to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes throughout the healthcare journey, ultimately creating efficiencies that lower costs and improve experiences — imperatives in a value-based world.