We're not so patient when it comes to our health, we want to participate in driving what happens next. And so we should. Yet, the conversation about the future of healthcare is at risk of leaving the very people who should be at the center of it -- patients -- behind.
It is a time of great change in the industry.
Thanks to the empowering effect of technology, we are making the transition from physician-centric to patient-centric and while the future holds much promise of an interconnected relationship between providers and stakeholders, the reality is many open questions remain.
From the time we figure out something is not right with us, to the diagnosis, treatment, and resolution of the issue, we are faced with a myriad choices, an avalance of information, and potentially little support in sorting out the complexity of navigating the changing landscape.
Even when the scenario is not life threatening, say you want to lose a little weight, or improve your lifestyle through better habits, technology and tools are only as good as our ability to find a good solution and tool, and act on the data.
Mapping the future of health is complicated
Issues like security, privacy, and trust, many options for care (or too few to find) and the deluge of information, yet not enough of the right data points to make good decisions at the appropriate time, are creating high anxiety, power struggles between patients and doctors, and insurance battles.
The hopes of too many remain frustrated in a cycle of reaction and changing regulations, with the added confusion of trying to sort out virtual and brick and mortar services.
High patient choice is empowering the more tech savvy and early adopters.
However, it is the driving force that is shifting emphasis to wellness and quality of life and a preview of the avalanche of changes in how organizations will need to communicate to develop relationships in the near to long term future.
This is felt at every level of service organizations, with staff on the front lines the most vulnerable to the tension between what was and the current needs of patients, physicians, families, and communities.
While some organizations have been leading the conversation on helping care providers learn how to connect with patients through social, like the Mayo Clinic, much still remains to be done at individual patient level.
New book: ePatient 2015
Featuring original research and stories of healthcare innovators from across the world, the book aims to help you take a step back to learn how health care is evolving, what patient empowerment really means, and what trends will be shaping the business and practice of healthcare in the near future.
The structure is organized under three main themes, which group a total of 15 new trends, including a few counter-intuitive takes on potentially familiar concepts and ideas.
Theme 1: Health HyperEfficiency
While it is true that technology innovation is helping make the delivery of health and medical care more efficient, safe, and effective for all patients, it is also prompting some hard questions around ethics and privacy.
Take for example predictive psychohistory, terminology you may have seen in non-fiction books. Health is especially data-rich, and we are starting to see instances where it is used to (attempt to) predict health behavior and outcomes.
As my family doctor always reminds me, medicine is something physicians practice, they do not totally know it. In addition to privacy concerns, predictive may remind us of Minority Report-style decisions made without you in the room.
Theme 2: The Personalized Health Movement
We all like to think we are unique, and in a very scientific sense, while we share the homo sapiens gene with the rest of humanity, we are -- even twins are genetically different#.
Do we run the danger of focusing too much on data and not enough on what it means? Under the trend of the Over-Quantified Self: Big Data may deliver “feel good” stats, observe Bhargava and Johnmar, rather than real actionable health advice.
Another trend under this theme is Multicultural Misalignment: Why it is critical that health innovators develop products that address differences in age, ethnicity, and culture.
Incentives can help, and MicroHealth Rewards explains what game theory teaches us about changing health behavior and why rewards (or punishments) work—or don’t.
Theme 3: Digital Peer-to-Peer Healthcare
Outlines the surprising ways patients are using digital tools to get better, lower cost, and faster care.
The effort of Mayo Clinic are benefiting patients who are using social tools to find one another, and the most appropriate providers through peer referrals.
Virtual counseling is also a rising trend. Communities and coaches have the potential to also help us figure out what we are going to do with our own data.
The future of healthcare is already here, just unevenly distributed.
This is just a taste of what you will learn by reading the book, which is officially available for sale on Amazon now in Kindle (ebook) format and hardcover (presales - shipping on December 20th).
Find more information here, including how to purchase signed bulk copies for your next working meeting.
[Disclosure: I received a copy of ePatient 2015 from Rohit Bhargava. This review and recommendation is based upon the quality of the material -- and not on how I obtained it.]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.