Patient Centricity – Challenges and Solutions
Patient centricity is one of the biggest buzzwords in the healthcare industry today, and for good reason: a study published in the European Medical Journal showed that there is a direct correlation between the amount of feedback IBD patients were able to provide and disease outcome. Some companies, like Shire, have responded by adopting patient-centric measures such as inviting patients to meetings in order to learn more about their needs.
Despite this glaring need, and all of the progress already made in this area, there is still much more room for improvement. What is necessary to make patient centricity the new norm? We have defined two major challenges keeping healthcare from becoming patient-centric, and their solutions.
Challenge #1: Patients are going online to learn about their health.
Before the days of the Internet and direct-to-consumer pharma ads, patients lacked knowledge about their health. Rather than being participants in their healthcare, they were simply recipients of care. Doctor-patient relationships were often paternal.
Today, patients take control of their own healthcare and arm themselves with information about their family history and preventative health measures. They are often using wearables to keep track of their fitness. When going to a doctor’s office, they already have an idea of what illnesses they could be suffering from, because they researched their symptoms online. Upon diagnosis, they join Facebook support groups and use reminder apps to manage their treatment.
Solution: Embrace the digital patient journey.
Today’s patient journey is considerably more complicated than in the past, but it provides a wealth of additional opportunities to reach the patient at every step from symptom recognition to treatment adherence. The diagrams below, adapted from DRG Digital’s report on the digital patient journey, provide a window into just a few of these new touchpoints.
Challenge #2: Doctors and patients are not working together.
Despite patients’ ability to research their condition online, most people cannot understand the medical jargon used by doctors. Likewise, doctors have a difficult time simplifying the complex world of medicine. A patient may not feel comfortable questioning the doctor’s plan of action or even being honest about the current state of a condition. This discomfort is for good reason: it has been shown that doctors regularly assume patients are exaggerating symptoms and therefore, often overestimate the effectiveness and progress of treatments.
Solution: Implement Shared Decision Making (SDM).
Shared Decision-Making empowers patients to take a more active role in healthcare decisions with their doctor. In SDM, patients are able to hear and discuss all treatment options, jointly deciding with their doctor what the best option is while fully understanding the implications and benefits of each course of action. This award-winning video explains SDM using emotive storytelling:
Innovara offers a variety of courses in sales, marketing, and medical affairs to help you be more patient-centric. If you want to go the extra mile, learn more about how your organization can become a PCCQ Center of Excellence.™