Patient empowerment with the help of Health Village digital care paths
Today, I can still read that numbers of hospital beds are reducing. Why is that happening, even though we have a need for more beds, so we can be taken care of and treated better.
My investigation of the reducing number of hospital beds is devastating. We are lacking nurses that can handle patients. We are not “making” babies and at the same time we are getting older. That means the demographical profile is looking like a ball and not as a pyramid. Finally, the costs of health and welfare are increasing. How can we expect to get help, if we don’t have persons to take care of us, nurses to help us and beds to be treated in?
What I really believe, is that we need to start empowering the patients. Not every patient needs a physical visit and there are many ways the patient could improve his situation already at home. In a typical scenario, the patient has a home with a bed. In our modern world, we also have smart phones, tablets and computers that are in most cases connected to the internet. What would happen, if we could empower the patient and at the same time engage the patient to play a bigger role in the recovery process?
In Canada, some hospitals are being built in the virtual world. In Finland, they built the Health Village. Health Village is developed and built by over 1,500 professionals in the Helsinki University Hospital and other Finnish university hospitals together with patients and partners. It is a cloud service based on Microsoft Azure, modern Dynamics 365 and Office 365 technologies. With Health Village, the hospital lets the patient to be a part of the recovery through a “digital healthcare plan”. The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) is responsible for the development of the technical platform.
The digital healthcare plan drives patient engagement. Finally, the patient understands what to do and when. If needed, the patient is one click away from communicating with the professionals. When the patient takes control over the situation, it will give professionals a more comprehensive overview of the patient. In addition, resources can be optimized with each digital patient.
The beauty of a modern solution is scalability. Health Village has care paths that are built on top of sophisticated, cloud-based back-end system. This enabled HUS to build one care path. They took all the learnings and continued to build following paths with the pace that suited the organization and the professionals. Over a few years, HUS has managed to build tens of care paths and scale the solution very rapidly to help bit variety of patients.
With the digital healthcare path, the patient, professionals and hospitals can now move towards an improved way of working.
More patients can be treated, meaning less queues. Patients can be part of their own digital healthcare plan and provide professionals with more insights, which in turn creates better overall treatment.
Patients and professionals can meet digitally via video or chat. We can decrease the number of meetings, reducing unnecessary travel time, resulting in more efficient way of operating.
Drive New Benefits
Thanks to digital transformation, we can now find new benefits that have before been hard to discover. Patients can give out data of how they feel, how many steps they have taken, or whether they have a painful headache or a fever. All this data can now be available comprehensively for researching.
With the help of digital healthcare plans, the professionals can handle more patients in a shorter time compared to before. Now the doctor can handle up to five times more patients. Queues will be shorter, and nurses/doctors can take care of patients more profoundly.
So, to finalize my findings. If we survive without dying in queues, we need to get involved in our own care path. The possibility to affect our own care path should be obvious, if it helps us to get well faster.
We need to do what Finland does. Bring Health Village and digital care paths to all patients.
See you at HIMSS next week, where we will be demoing Health Village and showing you how it can bring the patients’ healthcare to a whole new level.
Digital Healthcare Lead
Jörgen Gröhn works as Innofactor’s Digital Healthcare Lead. He is passionate about digital transformation, e-health and communication flows across organizational boundaries. Currently, Jörgen wants to help hospitals engage patients in a more comprehensive way, with the help of the Health Village digital care paths.