• Service: Advisory, Management Consulting, Business Performance Services
  • Industry: Healthcare, Government & Public Sector, Life Sciences
  • Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 7/22/2014

Are the assets and capabilities of patients and carers recognized? 

The growth in multimorbidity and chronic conditions requires a major shift in outlook from a focus on achieving biomedical indicators to one where the goals of the patient define success.

Successful healthcare needs active rather than passive patients. In creating more active patients it will be necessary to not only work with medical issues but to include functional, social and psychological issues.

To develop active patients, healthcare organizations need to understand the assets that the patients’ family and carer possess that can be mobilized to better manage their healthcare.

The development of new services that invest in the development of skills and capabilities of patients, their carers and communities to support self-management is a challenge for traditional providers and payers. It may involve:

  • New skills and job roles such as coaching and motivational interviewing.
  • New ways of engaging to identify patients‘ assets and develop the different options available to them.
  • Social prescribing – sign-posting patients to non-healthcare services, for example to reduce social isolation.
  • Incentives and new interventions to change behaviors including using social proof and insights from behavioral economics.
  • Remote monitoring using technology backed up with case managers.
  • Intensive intervention to support the vulnerable or chaotic patients.
  • Building and supporting peer networks so patients can provide mutual support.

The emphasis in the discussion of this has tended to be about the technical capabilities to support self-care. The change in culture and in the practice of medicine that is implied by this is at least as significant. Simply adding technology to existing delivery models will not succeed.

Both self-care and shared decision making make demands on patients. In particular they require a greater degree of health literacy and to become ‘activated patients’.

Goal orientated healthcare provides the healthcare organization with the capacity to work with patients to achieve their own life goals. This builds on the purely biomedical view of goals and will often gain impetus from the patient’s own greater motivation to achieve something that they want and can recognize.

Case study: Goal-oriented care

Goal-oriented care is care that encourages each patient to achieve the highest level of health as defined by that individual

Case study: Patient activation

Many studies have shown that patients who are activated, have the skills, ability and willingness to manage their own health have better health outcomes at lower costs compared with less activated patients.

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'What Works' outlines how to improve care through better patient involvement and communities (PDF 2.28 MB).

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