May 17, 2020

Four strategies for improving patient engagement and the patient-provider relationship

Global healthcare
Healthcare management
Patient engagement
Global healthcare
Admin
3 min
Four strategies for improving patient engagement and the patient-provider relationship
The way to a patients heart lies within what are called “The Four Cs” of patient engagement. These strategies employ effective ways to ident...

The way to a patient’s heart lies within what are called “The Four C’s” of patient engagement. These strategies employ effective ways to identify, connect and improve the overall patient-provider relationship for any practice; regardless of its field specification or healthcare niche.

The following are “The Four C’s” of patient engagement:

1. Create: It is known that the provider is primarily responsible for creating the coalition, or the relationship, when the patient or family member interacts with the healthcare system. This may signal to be the outcome of a specific or general healthcare need or demand of the patient or his or her family.

Providers can use this opportunity to come together to strategize and plan a path for working with both the patient and his or her family during their healthcare experience.

2. Connect: In this strategy, it is all about managing communications and building trust between the provider and the patient/or family. Decide which other colleagues will help to build respective patient’s trust, and then directly connect the patient and their family members to important community programs/activities.

Be sure to consider patients and their families from all cultural, spiritual and ethnic backgrounds.  A person’s quality of life depends upon additional socioeconomic considerations, and those situations are just as important, if not more important, to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By connecting patients to a social services agency, offering on-site brochures and/or mobile applications that link them to community resources change can be made in the healthcare sector.

This strategy thoroughly encourages trust and mutual respect to be cultivated between the patient and their respective healthcare team.

3. Celebrate: When acknowledging your patients’ accomplishments and successes, you as the provider are not only proud of helping a now healthy-patient, but you are celebrating their success on the road to recovery. This emphasizes that a relationship exists between the two of you, and strengthens the bond between patient and provider.

Simple things like remembering your patient’s birthday, checking in about family news or sharing personal stories; it’s important to convey that you’re making an effort to demonstrate a relationship. Also, be sure to celebrate their healthcare improvements as well. It can be anything from an improvement in their hemoglobin A1Cs, or cholesterol numbers.

Remember, your practice relies on building new relationships and improving existing ones in order to develop a successful patient-provider coalition.

4. Commit: Your practice will only succeed in these initiatives for as long as it is an understood priority. Be sure to commit to maintaining your patient coalition, especially after you have worked so hard to establish it. This requires modifying or adjusting your organizational structure and workflows to do patient check-ins and follow-ups prior to a scheduled appointment or office visit.

 

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Apr 30, 2021

The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone

covid-19vaccine
vaccinesupply
Supplychain
Blockchain
Jonathan Colehower
5 min
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
Jonathan Colehower, CEO at CargoChain, describes the COVID-19 vaccine distribution challenges impacting every country, organisation and individual...

While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined. 

Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.  

Production capacity 

Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short. 

Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification. 

The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.

It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.

Distribution requirements

It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.

For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.  

The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.

Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.

Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.

Disconnected information systems 

While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration. 

A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.

By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.

Political influence and social equality 

As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.

In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.  

However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.

Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution. 

The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.

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