August 1, 2019
In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven era, there exist longstanding debates about how to ensure and measure healthcare. Moreover, with each passing moment, all the healthcare stakeholders – such as hospitals and healthcare providers, payers and insurers, researchers, and drug manufacturers among others are realising the need of putting patients in the centre of healthcare. Truth be told, there is no healthcare without the patient.
The fact that patients are the epicentre of the entire healthcare system cannot be denied. So much so that every single function in the healthcare system depends on the ‘patient’. For instance, doctors are on a continuous duty to assess patient’s experiences and symptoms. Researchers are constantly monitoring patient data to develop and/or improve better treatment options. Drug manufacturers are encouraging research and development activities to analyse patient symptoms assessed by researchers and healthcare providers to enhance the drug quality for further improving the care delivery. Likewise, health insurance companies are also constantly developing policies to cater to ‘patient’ needs. Therefore, the functions of all the healthcare stakeholders revolve around ‘patients’, i.e. you!
Your needs in terms of better healthcare delivery are of paramount importance. Therefore, your opinion about the treatment, its advantages or disadvantages, and your overall health is the most important aspect of the healthcare industry. To better understand your needs, it is important for doctors and other healthcare providers to engage with you and ensure appropriate treatment and satisfaction. You should feel absolutely free to ask questions about your health and understand the treatment that is provided to you. As a patient, you should also be able to voice your opinion through dialogues with your doctor or medical service provider. It will also greatly aid in improving the quality of care through constant feedback from your side.
Knowing that a lot of patient data is generated with each visit of yours to a clinic or a hospital, you land up at the centre point around which the medical policies are made. Latest clinical research and advancements in the medical and pharmaceutical world happen through patients, making you an integral part of the healthcare ecosystem. Given that relieving the suffering and improving quality of life of patients as well as prolonging their life are the ultimate objectives of medical care, these measures cannot be quantified without data provided directly by patients. Since patients report on their feelings and experiences, these data can be incorporated into “Patient-Reported Outcome (PROs)” studies. PROs facilitate their quantification into relevant data; thus generating scientifically valid evidence that includes the patients’ voice. Such studies can therefore help in clinical decision-making. In addition, many researchers are putting patients at the centre of the healthcare innovation; wherein patients will not only give feedback, but they will also act as co-designers and co-developers, being more responsible for their cumulative health outcomes.
In the end, your opinion as healthcare decision-maker matters because it has shown to improve the overall health outcomes of the population as a whole. As the centre of the entire healthcare system, you can make your own experience safer and better by being proactive and well-informed members of the healthcare system.