Empowering patients through onsite healthcare
In today’s fast-paced, on-demand culture – convenience has become key to just about everything. However, the time saved through resources like ride-sharing apps and meal delivery services often causes consumers to overlook the quality of the product they are receiving. Sure, you were able to forego a trip to the grocery store after work by ordering takeout, but tomorrow, the refrigerator will still be empty, and you’ll be back to square one.
Unfortunately, this “quick-fix” mentality extends to how healthcare is delivered. In the US, 13-16 minutes is the most common period of time that physicians spend actually interacting with a patient. While this might allow for a brief discussion surrounding the presenting ailment, it isn’t enough to delve into the how and why of the patient’s health symptoms or conditions. Shorter doctor visits may drive volume and revenue for health systems, but the majority of those brief visits fail to address the root cause of the patient’s health problems; which could cost patients both monetarily, and in the quality of their life down the line.
The only way to make patient-centered healthcare a reality is by providing clinicians with the resources to make building relationships with patients the top priority. And, employer-provided healthcare is doing just that with onsite and near site health clinics that allow for ongoing patient and clinician engagement.
Instruction vs. Guidance
In many scenarios, the most that a patient can glean from a rushed, frantic doctor visit is a short list of technical instructions surrounding medication, or a high-level overview of general lifestyle changes. These types of discussions tend to minimise the role of the patient in their own healthcare journey.
In order to empower patients to optimise their well-being, clinicians should view themselves more as a coach, and less as a “healthcare provider.” Instead of directing and instructing, a coach approaches the patient from a holistic perspective, seeking a deep understanding of the whole person for better outcomes in both the near and far term.
A large part of this patient empowerment stems from continuous health coaching conversations. By lengthening appointment times, onsite and near site health clinics provide the environment necessary to address the root cause of poor health.
- Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase announce its new CEO to transform healthcare
- OWKIN is set to use machine learning to augment medical and biology research
- Google looks to utilise AI to further overhaul the GP-patient relationship
With more time in the schedule, health coaches can follow up with patients via multiple channels, helping them stay on track with established health goals and remind them to take proactive and preventative measures such as routine testing and vaccinations.
Wellness must be a fluid, ongoing aspect of every person’s life, which is why a health coach’s guidance should extend beyond the four walls of a doctor’s office, and create a collaborative, long-term path toward change.
Reading Between the Lines
A patient’s health is often dictated by social determinants of health, including their education, income, access to transportation, employment, and family situations. According to a recent study, although a majority of physicians in the US agree that being able to assist in managing their patients’ social determinants of health would benefit their patients’ overall well-being, they feel it’s not their responsibility to provide this assistance. This mindset may largely be attributed to the ever-present fee-for-service models that encourage stacked calendars and reactive care – which does not support the mentality that a health coach needs to succeed.
Thankfully, the “safe space” fostered by onsite and near site employer clinics allows health coaches to prioritise building strong relationships with the employees they serve, enabling them to uncover the social determinants of health at hand. We need to understand why patients make the choices they make before jumping into their clinical needs.
In the workplace, you can’t slap a band aide on an ongoing business problem and consider it fixed – and the same goes for healthcare. That’s why providers must take the time to truly assess the patient’s understanding of their own wellbeing, and coach them through conquering their unique healthcare journey.
The healthcare system in the US today is undergoing an enormous change, and it’s also facing intense challenges and systemic bottlenecks. However, we see onsite healthcare as a real and viable solution that allows clinicians to put patients first, and understand their “whys.” If clinicians in traditional healthcare settings were able to adopt more coaching techniques like those in onsite clinics, we just might be able to help more patients make long-lasting changes to their health and wellbeing.
Credit: Marathon Health
A third of UK patients prefer mobile apps to doctor visits
A third of UK patients prefer using mobile healthcare applications to having face-to-face consultations, a new report has found.
The research, commissioned by Mobiquity and conducted by Censuswide, surveyed 100 doctors and 1,003 patients in the UK during COVID-19 to understand their experiences with digital healthcare technology and its impact on patient care.
It found that as a result of COVID-19, 33% of patients would rather use a mobile app than visit the doctor.
Additionally over a third of doctors said that using mobile healthcare applications made it easier to prescribe the right treatment for patients remotely. However respondents cited technical issues and privacy concerns as barriers to using mobile healthcare apps.
The survey's other findings include:
* 56% of UK patients plan to use mobile healthcare applications in the future after using them during COVID-19.
* 71% of doctors plan to adopt mobile healthcare applications in the future
*52% of doctors experienced technical issues, with device compatibility problems being the most frequently reported technical issue
*28% of patients cited privacy concerns when using mobile healthcare applications during COVID-19
Commenting on the report, Teun Schutte, Managing Consultant at Mobiquity said that the COVID-19 pandemic had been transformational for digital healthcare. "The pandemic has shown the importance of digital health solutions and the need for increased adoption in the future, while at the same time highlighting the benefits around ease of access to care for patients and lower costs for healthcare providers.
“The challenge that exists, however, is how to solve frictions in the delivery of mobile healthcare applications and other types of digital health in the future. Our research highlighted the main barriers to adoption for patients and practitioners, and the areas we need to optimise to ensure digital innovation is scaled successfully to improve patient outcomes. Indeed, technical issues and privacy concerns need to be solved by aligning stakeholder concerns before digital health products are launched" he added.
“By aligning the digital innovation process and creating a blueprint for scaling the next generation of digital health technologies, as an industry we can scale digital health products or services across disease areas, and across hospitals, markets and regions, ensuring that patients receive personalised, quality care through digital health technologies.”