The practice of healthcare revolves around ‘Patient’ – the most critical stakeholder and a prime point of progress bench-marking to the industry. The word patient means the one who suffers and today, the entire healthcare industry is trying to make their lives and experience better, trying to provide a consistent, informed and regulated service for an improvised clinical care – digitally.
A patient’s journey begins with the initial symptoms and ends with continuous monitoring of the diseased condition towards a cure and a normal healthy life. Providing proficient care, it is imperative to have the patient journey information-oriented using numerous ways (Wiki, WebMD, etc.) where they can have access to simplified medical information for them to be prepared with a preliminary knowledge of the nature of their ailment and the possible cure and procedures to be taken by a physician etc. It is expected that this shall change the nature of the clinical care service provided by a physician or the influence of a pharmacist at a point of sale stage. We speak of Connected Informed Care, an innovative practice that is expected to enable patients to stay connected to information sources on a real-time basis to take an educative decision on personal healthcare. Additionally, digitally connect methods also allows a need-based electronic consultative communication between a patient and a physician, who can prescribe medication under a regulated environment – making the entire journey faster, accurate and immensely simplified. For patient care, it is pivotal to have the right prescribed information and connected care practices acts as a hub for continuous health monitoring and remote consultation improving quality of care, the speed of care and t an affordable cost.
Time Factor of Care
Let’s take an example to rationalize this concept on practical grounds. A patient with a pollen allergy generally, starts understanding the severity of the disease once they have undergone the pain and for a first timer, getting to understand the problems and criticalities is a challenge. The challenge continues unless they reach the physician, who educates about the situation and the illness factor – with prescribed do’s and don’ts and medication to manage the disease. Consider informed medical care as an option in this case where the patient could have used a medical information source that could help them map their symptoms and could suggest the specific kind of physician that would be needed in this case, providing the preliminary do’s and don’ts and/or a first aid self-medication, before even visiting the physician for getting an instant relief. The patient can immediately go for an e-consult option for the highly recommended physician on the portal and can not only get proper medical attention at an affordable rate but also in a shorter time frame, avoiding all the travel and queues etc. Say, diagnosed with Asthma, post-consultation, the patient can purchase the prescribed medical advice online from an online pharmacy and get it delivered at home or their existing location and initiate the treatment quickly. The patient can continue to search the information for a better understanding of Asthma and manage life more carefully and effectively, then running to the physician every now and then. Patient learning is going to play a critical role here.
Building Reality of Connected Care
The steady stream of the data generated through this capability will be valuable to all the stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, enhancing the seamless improvisation of patient and physician’s mutual journey. The connect generated through these solutions would enhance care, experience, and outcomes. But, due to barriers of law and regulations, connected care is yet to be a mainstream solution. As pioneers in digital health, we need to complete the oath “May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help” and create a renewed urgency which will create a safe and easy usage of this technology.