Life sciences and healthcare organizations have begun the buildup of the digital infrastructure required for patient-centric healthcare. This connected health ecosystem will bring together disparate information systems (for clinical trials, customer relationship management, patient records etc.) and allow various stakeholders such as doctors, insurers, laboratories etc. to exchange patient data better and thus offer personalized digital experiences. An example of personalized experience would be managing the drug therapy using digital therapeutics. The physician can manage the therapy remotely and could check the health of patient using wearable devices. The digital system could remind patients to take drug through mobile App and support the drug intake using smart autoinjector. The fragmented patient journeys of the past during the clinical trial or treatment phase will become integrated and personalized experiences.
Digitized data play a pivotal role in the transforming the patient experience. Some of key data sources include clinical data, electronic health records (EHR), data from wearables and prescription data through healthcare providers. These data sources are often siloed, hindering the creation of a holistic patient experience. Patient platforms and applications with their residing data in various life sciences and health care organizations need to transfer data seamlessly among each other to generate patient insights and offer improved experiences. Various stakeholders such as hospitals, clinical trial organizations etc. in the industry need to collaborate to result in effective data exchanges. Further, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being harnessed to make better sense of these data sources. AI-powered diagnostics, clinical decision-making tools, drug discovery processes, and robotics will enable patients to make informed decisions and facilitate enhanced patient-physician interactions. The growing number of AI use cases in the areas of drug discovery, clinical decision-making, diagnostics and robotics promises to deepen our understanding of patients' conditions and provide highly personalized healthcare experiences. AI-based products that detect cancerous tumors have already been approved by FDA for clinical use.
Benefits of patient-centered digital healthcare
There are multiple benefits associated with patient-centric healthcare that leverages digital technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, big data analytics, smart wearables etc. to both patients and healthcare providers. Some key benefits and use cases are discussed below:
- Enhanced patient experience and satisfaction: By personalizing healthcare services to individual patients, healthcare providers can significantly improve the overall patient experience, leading to higher satisfaction rates. An example could be a hospital mobile App that contains the full treatment plan of a patient during the inpatient care. The care givers could update the key patient-related information in the App and allow the patient to co-plan the time spent in the hospital better. It could also include some relaxing and recreational activities in the hospital.
- Enhanced personal wellbeing: Personalized healthcare coupled with digital services such as virtual monitoring and telemedicine allow people to enjoy more time together with family and improve personal wellbeing and diseases prevention. Chronic patients could make use of wearables or IoT devices to share vital signs with caregivers constantly and allow caregivers to take appropriate decisions on time.
- Improved patient outcomes: Personalized healthcare approaches will result in enhanced treatment outcomes and reduce the risk of adverse events. Personalized genetic therapies are already in place for various diseases. AI-based treatment models could potentially show adverse events in advance for certain therapies and help to choose alternative treatment plans.
- Increased adherence to therapies: Patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans when they feel part of the therapy and their unique needs are being considered. An example could be digital therapeutics using mobile Apps and smart autoinjectors that allow patients to be an active part of the therapy and get in touch with the care giver through the mobile App whenever required.
- Early detection and prevention of diseases: Patient-centric healthcare emphasizes proactive monitoring and early intervention, which can help detect and prevent diseases at an earlier stage. Vital body signs such as body temperature, blood pressure, pulse etc. can be monitored through wearables or smart scales and be automatically notified to the general practitioner via a “Digital Health Twin” App, in case of any major deviations.
- Shared decision making: Empowered with information and personalized guidance, patients can become part of decision making by care givers by evaluating the information and treatment options. AI-supported treatment options could assist to provide feasible treatment options based on patient’s history to drug reactions and preferences. Ultimately, the treatment choice will be made by patient rather than directed by care giver or even a computer.
Challenges to overcome
Lack of concerted efforts across the life sciences and healthcare organizations to build up the digital infrastructure required for patient-centric healthcare are hampering the patient-centric view of healthcare. In order to achieve the intended benefits of patient-centric and digitized healthcare across the patient value chain, various stakeholders need to collaborate and put the patient focus in the center of their initiatives. Some of key challenges that impede the realization of patient-centric healthcare include the following:
- Patient data sharing and privacy: Consent of the patient for data sharing as the owner of data remains a critical challenge to connect the dots of services offered by various healthcare organizations. Managing data privacy concerns in a secure manner could lead to a win-win situation.
- Technology and platform integration: Integrating various technologies and platforms to provide a seamless experience for patients is complex and requires significant investment. Healthcare and life sciences organizations need to work together to extract maximum value for patients.
- Patient empowerment in decision-making: Empowering patients to actively participate in their healthcare decisions necessitates education and support. Patient information and support initiatives need to be boasted to result in shared decision-making.
- Resource and cost constraints: Developing and implementing personalized healthcare solutions involve resources and budget that are limited. The value proposition of patient-focused healthcare needs to be established for the investment to flow.
- Shift to a patient-centric operating model: Transitioning from a provider-centric and supplier-oriented to a patient-centric operating model requires significant organizational change. Stakeholders in the healthcare value chain need to make concerted efforts to make this organizational change.
Patient-centric healthcare and the accompanying digital experience represent the future of healthcare. The fusion of digital technologies and personalized healthcare/ medicine brings the potential to transform healthcare into a holistic and more effective system. While challenges exist, the benefits of improved patient outcomes, enhanced experiences, and empowered decision-making outweigh the journey towards a patient-centric healthcare in the life sciences and healthcare industry. As industry stakeholders continue to invest towards this vision, we can look forward to a healthcare system that revolves around the needs and preferences of the patient.
Visit our website to learn more about our approach to patient-centricity and optimizing your business processes.