Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our role as consumers in the future of healthcare

At the recent Social Media Club DC event I was one of the panel members talking about Health and Social Media. It was a lively event with a lot of discussion with and between the attendees.

A number of questions during the evening focused around the Personal Health Record. During the various interchanges I referenced the UK National Health Service and their deployment of Personal Health Records to UK citizens. This deployment is changing the relationship between Doctors and Patients. There is a transformation occurring. In the past the Doctor-Patient relationship has been paternalistic in nature. The UK's adoption of Personal Health Records is creating a more informed consumer and making the relationship more patient-centered through the empowerment that comes with increased knowledge.

Following the Social Media Club event a question came in to me on Twitter from @DeborahH.

@ekivemark "to involve consumer... be less paternalistic" A thought: what impact could this idea have, droppd into the mainstream conversation?

This question got me thinking:

  • Why it is important to adopt Personal Health Records.
  • Could the adoption of Personal Health Records change the relationship with Doctors, Payers, Pharmacists and others in the US Health Care industry?

Why we need to adopt Personal Health Records

Health Care is becoming more complex and capable. Continual advances in care and drug regimens are extending our life expectancy but can also increase the risk of dangerous interactions. The risk of adverse interactions will rise if everyone involved in a patient's treatment does not have full visibility in to the the medications and treatments being administered.

We should also realize that we, as patients, are the one common denominator in our treatments. Not only are we the one common denominator but we are also the person who lives with ailments 24x7. In comparison we may get to spend only a few minutes with our physician infrequently. When looked at in that light we should be empowering ourselves to manage our own health and wellness.

Changing the Patient Relationship

Enabling us, as patients, to be better informed changes the relationship for all of our interactions across the healthcare industry.

Through better information we can have more informed and focused discussions with our physicians.

I also wrote recently about the adoption of Personal Health Records being driven by the senior members of society. The desire to retain independence while containing medical costs will lead to an increased use of home-based medical monitoring equipment. The data from this equipment could end up being uploaded to a patient's Personal Health Record and from there shared with physicians and others involved in the patient's care.

This all leads us to have more visibility and understanding of our health conditions and to spend the scarce time we have with medical experts productively.

We will move from the paternalistic mode to more of a partnership of equals.

1 comment:

  1. I think we have still to work out how physicians can make the best use of PHRs in this limited time too. If you know any research on this, please share.