The Healthcare Innovation Expo – Give patients the tools to take responsibility

Posted on 22 March 2013

This was one of the key messages among many topics coming out of the Healthcare
Innovation Expo
last week in Londonas the new CCG structure gears up
for the 1st of April.

From an adherence perspective, it was particularly refreshing to hear both clinicians, pharma
companies and members of the Clinical Commissioning Groups talk about ‘understanding
the patient journey’ and helping patient’s lead more healthy lives.

This was an innovation event so understandably the word on the street was all about the
latest telemedicine platforms out there and the positive impact technology can play in
improving patient health. But, actually implementing this technology and making it a
cost-efficient process to the benefit of primarily patients as wellas clinicians was a big
talking point over the two days.

Doctor Shahid Ali from the Phoenix Medical Practice in Bradford, Yorkshire was particularly
interesting around the patient setting objectives to be accountable for their own health.
Telemedicine along with data and information, being one of the ways that clinicians can
support patients in achieving their goals and ultimately take control of their health.

From the pharmaceutical industry, Jackie Parkin from GSK gave a very insightful seminar
on ‘adhering to adherence’. Jackie outlined that the adherence challenge will not go away
and it is up to all the key stakeholders (payers, clinicians, patients, providers and
pharmaceutical companies) in the process to keep working at identifying where the key
information gaps are.

There is no doubt that technology will improve the overall objective of improving patient
outcomes but understanding what the individual goes through in becoming a patient and
the treatment journey they have to undertake – is still the big challenge. The healthcare
industry is growing increasingly aware of this issue, but putting all the right pieces of this
new CCG puzzle together with the end goal of improving patient health, still has some way
to run.

Charlie Inglefield

Accurate diagnosis – do you trust the internet or your doctor?

Posted on 31 October 2012

One of the UK’s leading newspapers, the Daily Mail last week ran an interesting article on
patients who have researched their illness online prior to visiting their doctor, tend to receive
a better consultation’.

This raises some touchy subjects not least the question around trusting one’s doctor
but also digging into the accuracy of a doctor’s consultation.

These issues bring out a number of intriguing challenges to the health authorities around the
world. The rise in repeat referrals of which one reason is through people not adhering to their
treatment, raises the inevitable question of whether a patient is taking the right medication
for the correct illness in the first place.

The irresistible pull to engage in social media and the power of the internet shows no signs
of slowing down in the healthcare industry. The spread of the web means that it is feasible to
get an accurate diagnosis but surely the doctor is the one who should have
sufficient knowledge to either diagnose or refer to a specialist to ensure an
accurate diagnosis.

Improving the communication between a doctor and patient – the first step?

Initiating a simple questionnaire to be completed in clinic or at home to answer a patient’s
concerns and symptoms is a start. With a condition like irritable bowel syndrome, patient
adherence to treatment is very poor. A punishing dosage regime contributes to patients often
hiding their condition from the doctor despite the acute physical and social side effects
suffered on a daily basis. The attitude and awareness of the GP right at the start is
crucial to patients taking their treatment and more importantly getting them better.

There are many different arguments to this topic but improving the communication
between a patient and a doctor right from the first consultation is a potential step to
tackling this worrying trend.

Charlie Inglefield