A New Era of Clinical Communication
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Technology has transformed how people interact. We are on the cusp of an exciting new era in clinical communication, and a key shift in the empowerment of patients as a stakeholder in healthcare.
"As Tim Cook (Apple) stated recently, the Healthcare market’s potential could dwarf the smartphone market, which currently accounts for some 65% of Apple’s total revenue, and the statistics tend to support this.
In Deloitte’s recent report ‘Global Healthcare Outlook’, they write that “The adage, ‘What goes up, must come down’ isn’t likely to apply to the global health care sector in 2019. Ageing and growing populations, greater prevalence of chronic diseases, exponential advances in innovative digital technologies—these and other developments continue to increase health care demand and expenditures.”
The involvement of the top tech giants in the healthcare market in recent years (Amazon, Apple, Google etc.) is always an indicator of which global markets are experiencing growth.
New AI / blockchain technologies, (some developed by start-ups right here in Northern Ireland), wearable hardware (e.g. FitBits) and the shift to value-based healthcare are all factors that shine a light on the direction in which healthcare is going, with suggestions that the involvement of those primarily-tech organisations increases the opportunities for mergers & acquisitions in the sector due to the growing financial opportunities in the area.
Technology has transformed how people interact with each other in the digital age, and as patients increasingly use the internet for research conditions and treatments and treatment options, their expectations and needs around how they engage with doctors and practitioners around their own healthcare has shifted significantly.
Ineffective patient interaction can leave patients feeling isolated from the care provider, confused about the next steps in their treatment plan and anxious about what lies ahead,
In 2019, digital technologies will continue to have a significant role to play in the reshaping of how healthcare services are delivered and in how healthcare organisations can better meet evolved patient needs. One area in which healthcare organisations are employing digital solutions is in addressing patient engagement.
Defined, it combines a patient's knowledge, skills, ability and willingness to manage their own care with communications designed to promote positive behaviours. Patients want to be informed right along the patient journey, as those patients that are better engaged tend to be healthier as a result.
A patient’s willingness to manage their own care is determined by their healthcare’s organisation’s willingness to provide the necessary resources that empower the patient to take control of the management of their health, as patient engagement requires activity on the part of the provider as much as it does the patient.
Early healthcare innovators began adopting patient-portals a number of years ago as an avenue to provide patients with information outside of their consultations and However, with limited thought to UX/UI and how that information is consumed and interacted with, better informed did not necessarily mean better engaged, and patient adoption of these early digital solutions was poor.
As the digital health market develops, healthcare organisations increasingly understand that patient activation is more than simply the provision of medical information, and that the method of how digital information is presented to patients is paramount.
Evidence shows how the landscape is changing and emergent specialist patient engagement technology is just one of the drivers of this change. As innovative technology solutions overcome perceived hurdles of integration and data security, we are on the cusp of an exciting new era in clinical communication, and a key shift in the empowerment of patients as a stakeholder in healthcare. How ready doctors and healthcare organisations are to accept that change remains to be seen.