The right formula for health

Nurse plus digital plus patient equals better outcomes, say Rebecca Galbraith and John Procter in their feature article in Deep Dive: Digital II.

Digital technology is allowing healthcare providers to do things they never could before: remotely monitor patients, whether they are a few miles away, or thousands; access electronic medical records from anywhere, and check patients’ vital signs from wearables in real time. However, where patient engagement and patient-centric medicine are concerned, there has to be more to care than data alone.

In a survey of 340 clinicians, clinician leaders and hospital executives carried out by the New England Journal of Medicine between February and March 2016, almost 60% said that they felt increasing face-to-face time with patients was the best engagement strategy. Shared decision-making initiatives, the crux of patient engagement, were ranked as important by 54% of the healthcare professionals.

Patient engagement and patient experience are seen as increasingly important parts of healthcare. But it’s more than just an assumption that patients who feel more positive about their experience and understand their disease are going to do better; a systematic review of 55 studies showed positive associations between patient experience and clinical effectiveness, including:

  • Self-rated health outcomes
  • Objectively-measured health outcomes
  • Adherence to recommended clinical practice
  • Adherence to medication
  • Preventive care
    • Health-promoting behaviour
    • Use of screening services
    • Immunisation
  • Resource use
    • Hospitalisation
    • Length of stay
    • Primary care visits.

Creating projects that will make a real difference in patient engagement requires a thorough understanding of what patient-centricity actually is, and an awareness that this may need to be tailored to different groups. Read more in the full article here.

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