Changing dimensions in preventive healthcare
The patient as a consumer is an important resource in the healthcare industry. The medical profession has made rapid strides over the past few decades. Information technology is widely used in the healthcare industry. Today’s patient has ready access to medical information and is well informed. Thus, healthcare consumers have also discovered new ways to engage with their medical providers, as they are more aware of their medical conditions and realize the need to partner with their providers.
Patients are no longer passive recipients of care. Motivation, engagement and involvement of the patient in decision-making are the cornerstones of a successful healthcare practice.
Physicians today are encountering a large number of patients with chronic diseases in their practice. In the treatment of these complex diseases, a very large “behavioral component” is involved. Treatment is usually protracted over an extended period of time and often requires lifestyle and dietary modifications to be adopted by the patient.
Only if the patient is motivated and makes the necessary changes, treatment will be successful. Active participation of the patient is imperative. This underscores the importance of patient motivation and engagement as important factors in improving healthcare outcomes.
Nowadays, senior citizen prefers to live independently, free of worries, in an assisted living environment or retirement community. Smart remote monitoring solutions can help empower, engage them to proactively manage their health especially who suffer from chronic conditions like, diabetes, cardiac illness, renal disease, etc. or require recurrent services.
mHealth apps are a “treasure trove” of information. Similarly, wearable medical technology is fast becoming a hot commodity and has a huge potential to help both patients and healthcare providers in monitoring and care coordination activities. Patients can log in through the portal and access information pertaining to his/her medical condition, different modalities of treatment available, and advances in the therapeutic procedures. Patients can view their health status, lab reports, list of medications prescribed, physician notes etc. and share specific, relevant information with the physicians or medical facilities they engage without having to move around physically. The patient can also request for medication refills or schedule an appointment with the physician at his/her own convenience.
An empowered and informed patient knows the physician and the specialist who he/she is dealing with. Since the patient has knowledge about the symptoms, he/she knows whom to call when new symptoms arise or if the condition worsens. Thus, these innovations provide flexibility and allow patients to take charge of their care. The healthcare team could also engage/involve the patient’s family members who are the main support system.
To sum it up, a well-informed and a proactive patient engages in more healthy and preventive practices. Involving the patient in the process of delivering healthcare improves the quality of therapeutic outcomes.
The writer is James Francis, Business Analyst, Cooey Technologies.