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Jul 02, 2019

How always-on tech aims to free up time for caregivers

Estimated reading time: 6-8 minutes

           

Recently, we had the pleasure of hosting a group of industry analysts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Discussions focused on the emerging healthcare system’s needs and how technology can enable better outcomes. This is where the Quadruple Aim will guide us. For those not familiar with the term, it’s the goal of enhancing the patient experience, improving health outcomes, lowering the cost of care (better productivity), and improving the care provider experience.

 

It has become a cliché to state that technology is reshaping industries. But in the case of healthcare, it is also the other way around. Consumers are taking a more proactive role in managing their own health. As such, the industry is having to pivot to meet those needs. Consumers want omni-channel experiences with rich personalized content. Experiences that are seamless and, in most cases, with instant gratification. Waiting weeks for appointments, being handed off from one medical discipline to the other with gaps in the journey, and minimal engagement, is no longer acceptable. Engaged patients are willing to share more, as they are keen for their health tools and content to be relevant and the experience to be continuously improving. Those who openly share their health data are also happier with the care they receive, with 74% rating their engagements as excellent or very good as seen in the latest Future Health Index that was published earlier this week. An upside is that with sharing more data, we’re not only helping ourselves but also others. It means that care providers can implement better practices gleaned from information, making diagnoses more precise and treatment more personal.

 

That said, it’s not just patients demanding change, health professionals also are. When you consider issues such as staff shortages and burnout, a clear overhaul is needed. New professional experiences that truly augment the experts, whether radiologists, cardiologists, surgeons or nurses, are gaining ground. Our Illumeo workspace supporting radiologists in reading medical images or use of Augmented Reality for minimally invasive procedures are just two examples where clinically intelligent software augments the skills of clinicians.

 

From a business perspective, healthcare providers are adjusting business models to reflect changing reimbursement. Leading healthcare delivery networks increasingly apply lean methodologies, analytics and smart workflow systems to reduce variance and optimize scarce resources.

Once we have “systems of engagement” in place, that complement “systems of record”, we start managing longitudinal, patient-centric data flows, in and outside the hospital.

At Philips, we’re actively working to deliver on the Quadruple Aim for our healthcare customers and consumers (patients). We are taking a platform approach that allows us to create solutions that are better attuned to customer’s emerging needs, whilst facilitating security and 3rd party innovation at the same time. Once we have “systems of engagement” in place, that complement “systems of record”, we start managing longitudinal, patient-centric data flows, in and outside the hospital. This in turn, supports more personalized experiences and enhanced workflows.

 

Consumers of care will be at the heart of the healthcare network. As we move towards the reality of ubiquitous patient monitoring, we’ll be able to glean insights continuously, virtually anywhere. This aids better engagement between caregivers and patients, as the “system-in-the-background” will prioritize patients on acuity and need for intervention. This always-on tech aims to free up time for caregivers to do what they have signed up for; caring with empathy. As these models become more common, a joined up, connected and happier environment is created. The purpose of our Philips HealthSuite Platform is to enable these “systems of engagement”.

Care is moving to the home, not only to support those suffering from chronic disease, but also to prevent disease. In the mornings, we have our daily health and beauty routines. A smart mirror will become our “digital twin”: informing us on health status by gleaning vital signs and putting this in context to give guidance. This allows consumers to receive a highly personalized view of wellbeing, nudging them to enact changes -for instance in their oral health routines- that positively affect behaviors and overall health. Empowerment is the premise.

 

Patients need to feel confident and secure in taking a more active role in their health. And the information gathered should also benefit healthcare providers. The use of medical-grade wearables is a familiar example of this. Patients can enact behavioral changes that put them on the path toward better health, but providers can intervene if an at-risk person’s vitals indicate deterioration. Similar technology is widely used to remotely monitor patients in Intensive Care beds with cameras and telemetry.

 

Emory Healthcare in Atlanta in the U.S. has proven that successful application of tele-ICU truly addresses the quadruple aim. They worked closely with a partner hospital in Australia to move stressful night work in the Emory eICU Center into daylight hours. Their intercontinental setup is allowing Emory physicians and nurses to deliver care from the other side of the earth. Cheryl Hiddleson, Director of the Emory eICU Center, joined us last week and shared her experiences with the industry analysts in Cambridge. Emory has been able to achieve better outcomes and an average cost reduction of almost $1,500 per patient. But as important, she underlined, they were able to bring back joy and work satisfaction to their staff, which is helping them to retain current staff, recruit new staff and extend the professional lives of more senior nurses that would otherwise most likely leave their mentally and physically heavyweight jobs. With support of telehealth their wisdom and clinical knowledge will not be lost but is now shared across many locations, for many more patients to benefit from.

Bridging the gap between the consumer health and professional healthcare worlds isn’t just a “nice-to-have”, but a necessity.

Bridging the gap between the consumer health and professional healthcare worlds isn’t just a “nice-to-have”, but a necessity. It forces us to push the boundaries of innovation. Nothing great is ever developed in isolation. Standalone products are important, but nowhere near as important as integrated solutions. “No man is an island” – by collaborating with our stakeholders (consumers/ patients, providers, payers) we achieve our best and most rewarding work. The impact of our deliverables will be measured using the quadruple aim as our benchmark.

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Jeroen Tas

Jeroen Tas

Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer

Jeroen Tas is Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer of Royal Philips. Jeroen is an experienced global executive and entrepreneur with a track record of leading innovation in the healthcare, information technology and financial services industries. Leading the company’s global Innovation & Strategy organization, he’s responsible for creating a pipeline of innovative business propositions that address emerging customer needs and enable a high-growth, profitable health continuum strategy.

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