We have discussed it before: From the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) decentralizing medicinetransition of care from hospital to individual level, to how social media is changing the nature of clinical trials etc. All these demonstrated how patients had transformed from passive recipients of care to consumers or even active influencers of care. 

The transition was dramatized by technology. The plethora of websites, mobile applications, and online discussion groups are giving people, insiders’ thoughts and previously inaccessible information. Providers may find themselves revamping existing business models to accommodate new values and approaches. They want to ensure healthcare gets less cumbersome but at the same time, yield more positive results. 

On the other hand, armed with more resources, patients are more cautious of their spending. They are willing to sacrifice traditional physician-patient rapport and discrete services that their family and friends are satisfied with, with something that is of higher quality, provides a quick remedy and more personalized. 

Adopting new roles 

Although buy-in may be a challenge, providers can still tap into the loopholes of this evolving health consumerism. After all, it is very rare for patients to be fully literate in medicine. Instead of instructing, perhaps it will be worthwhile to educate patients, to differentiate between hype and reality. Relatively, a learned patient will be equipped with more self-help skills. They will also be more abled to seek relevant help when needed and provide doctors with more precise information shall the need arise. 

Besides, it will be valuable for doctors to assist patients to retain what took place during a consultation. According to past study, patients only remember 20% of what they have heard from the doctors. As such, the assistance may come in a form of reminders through applications or virtual assistants. It can also be customized based on the lifestyle and schedule of patients. So that the most crucial part of every consultation is seamlessly instilled into the practice of patients after they leave each visit. 

It will also be of value to encourage patients to clarify their doubts or to repeat the medical procedures they are about to undergo. This will ensure patients comprehend accurately the progress of their condition and what can be done to arrive at an ideal outcome eventually. 

Meaningful experience is the force behind loyalty 

Surely, increasing patients’ knowledge, awareness of choices, expectations for valued care and cost transparency is a huge cultural shift. Healthcare providers should not regard the adoption of new roles as something which disrupts their workflow. 

The industry already know that patients are no longer consumers. They are not sitting in the doctors’ office waiting to hear about what is going on in the healthcare industry in general. Patients are more likely to be concern and troubled, eager to find out the cure and what will help them to cover the cost. Thus, healthcare providers will not win the trust of patients if they are not aware of how to address the fundamentals and render a meaningful experience. 

One thing to take note is patient-centered care does not encompass “they are always right”. Healthcare providers need not have to be servant leaders, but leverage towards establishing a collaborative provider-patient relationship. 

Author Bio
synthetic gene empathy chinese artificial intelligence data medicine healthcare ai

Hazel Tang

A science writer with data background and an interest in current affair, culture and arts; a no-med from an (almost) all-med family. Follow on Twitter.