by Philippe Houssiau, Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences, CSC
Healthcare leaders need to work collaboratively to focus on early prevention
Wherever you look, healthcare systems are moving in the same direction. Policymakers want healthcare providers to focus on outcomes not activities. In response, healthcare systems are establishing more effective models of integrated care delivery, which are often capitated and risk management-based.
Whatever your view of the “correctness” of these developments, they are coming. Healthcare is becoming more integrated and connected. In response, medical data needs to flow freely along the patient’s clinical pathway.
We all know aspects of the health system are complicated and inefficient. Patients have to share medical data repeatedly across a complex array of providers and care givers. As a result, diagnoses can be late, which may result in avoidable acute care. To achieve improvement, what really matters is an integrated approach to managing chronic diseases, comorbidities and specific vulnerable groups, allowing a shift from late disease to early health.
Integrated care requires close cooperation to break boundaries between primary, social, and acute care, as well as the increasing involvement of non-traditional providers. It also requires a shift in emphasis from primary care acting as the “front door” to a focus on supporting patients as they move through specific personal care pathways. Health leaders need to increasingly work collaboratively, focusing on early prevention rather than late care.
I would argue that they must also understand how their efforts can be underpinned by effective systems and technology.
To place the burden entirely on the healthcare system is wrong though. Suppliers of technology need to take some of the strain, and enhance our ability to help providers transform. I see this as co-creation – building rich, deep partnerships to create systems that improve care. This co-creation approach has three core principles:
Clinical relevance: helping healthcare organisations extract data and convert it into meaningful information for more optimal clinical decision making. This requires bringing the past into the future, making tacit data explicit and relevant for predictive health analytics and risk stratification.
Operational efficiency: providing flexible and dynamic back office and infrastructure. Never forget that the proportion of time and money not spent on the provision of care is large.
Care coordination: designing and operating patient-centric pathways across the health economy, focused on population health management and shared accountability between patient and care provider.
The road from the existing model to an integrated care system focused on outcomes will be long and difficult. The end point – better health and wellbeing at an affordable cost – is worth the journey.