The Role of Patient Input in Creating Better Health Outcomes

A new study from the University of Washington School of Medicine has examined the impact that increased patient involvement has on the overall effectiveness of medical consultations. In the study, 121 patients were asked to type a consultation agenda into software before meeting with their practitioners. Following the consultation, the patients and their 28 practitioners were asked to rate the experience in terms of consultation efficiency, improved communication and improved understanding of the patient’s health concerns.

Of the respondents, 79% of patients and 74% of practitioners agreed that this experience improved communication. One clinician commented that they “got time to think about issues ahead of time”. Feedback from a patient indicated that they “gave doctor my information so I wouldn’t be nervous and forget”. Another patient summed up that this was a “new Doctor so this was (an) excellent way of getting my feelings across”.

In recent years, a trend has emerged towards patients wanting to play an active role in their own care. In a Healthshare survey in 2017, 77% of patients said they would like to communicate with their practitioner outside of session. Of those who responded, 33% of patients felt that this would help keep their treatment on track. Of those who had trialled a dedicated patient-to-practitioner communication platform, 92% reported that their sessions were more effective.

The benefits for healthcare practitioners who embrace these technologies are two-fold, assist with patient retention and increase engagement to the treatment plan. Tools such as Healthshare’s ConnectMe give patients access to features such as a treatment diary, available online or from their mobile device. Making it simple and convenient for patients record experiences or track their condition in 'real time' gives practitioners invaluable insights between face-to-face visits. Practitioners are able to translate complex care plans into simple, daily patient tasks with automated reminders.

For patients, this technology creates a sense of connection and continued accountability to treatment between visits. As technology continues to develop and consumer expectations inevitably transform, the health industry is likely to change with it. The question remains, how much will it change? And who will be left behind?

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