As champions of health, our work directly impacts the health and lives of millions of individuals, families and populations around the world – increasing access to care, improving care experience and outcomes, and reducing costs. At the heart of everything we do is the patient – the fundamental and essential role in the vital mission of transforming health and well-being that we all share – and a role we all take on at some point in our lives.
From daredevil skateboarders to yoginis to silver sprinters and everyone in between, consumers are expecting and demanding more from their healthcare. Fortunately, for all of us, the global healthcare ecosystem is becoming increasingly more collaborative and patient-centric.
Innovative health information and technology is allowing individuals, caregivers and families to become active partners with providers and care teams in managing their health and wellness – enabling them to take more control of their healthcare decisions and their health. Advances like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, biometrics, machine learning, precision medicine, telehealth, wearables and more are reshaping the patient experience – and for the better.
Patients are becoming more knowledgeable and responsible healthcare consumers, contributing to improved care and outcomes. As they become more informed and engaged, they become more empowered to be active members of their care teams, working together to better understand and target their care when, where and how it is needed most.
Changing models of care delivery and disruptive technologies are shaping the consumerization of health, allowing patients to bypass traditional healthcare models when needed. The emergence of retail clinics and virtual clinicians are giving patients options for quicker access to care, along with increased convenience and flexibility to make their own choices.
A surge in the availability and use of telehealth tools – apps, provider portals, online scheduling and payment options, automated prescription refills, patient reminders and more – allow patients to manage communications and schedule appointments with their providers more efficiently and easily. Tools like these also allow providers to collect and analyze patient-reported outcomes and increase provider-patient outreach when necessary.
Wearable devices and the continuing trend toward personal fitness and well-being are allowing patients to take greater control of their health, with a focus on prevention and wellness. Patients are increasingly tracking their own health information – walking and other exercise, food and water intake, sleep patterns and more – and setting and reaching personal and clinician-advised goals that improve their day-to-day well-being.
Increased personalized engagement is empowering consumers to make more evidence-based healthcare decisions and participate more in self-directed care. Patients are better managing chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, COPD, asthma, arthritis and more – preventing unnecessary office visits and hospitalizations and helping to extend their life spans.
Telehealth, remote monitoring, wearables and other advances are generating huge amounts of patient-based data, to the advantage of both individuals and populations. Providers can glean insights to inform their decision-making for individuals, while larger data-driven findings can help health professionals predict and solve population health problems by assessing methods and treatments faster, keeping better track of inventory, informing strategic planning and more.
We are all patients, and we are all champions. As patients, we are champions of our own health, and as health professionals, we are champions for the patients we serve, either directly or indirectly. Innovative information and technology can be truly transformative for all of us as patients – and its life-changing potential will only continue to increase. As new advances put us more in charge of our health and well-being across the care continuum, we are becoming more informed, more responsible and more proactive.
We are no longer leaving decisions up to our providers or care teams. We recognize the importance of fighting our own good health fight. We’re getting super-powered to transform our own health and lives. We are becoming our own champions of health.