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Mapping patient pathways – with a focus on patient-centricity

By Alison Dunlop

Alison Dunlop

As the patient experience is increasingly recognised as a critical factor in achieving better outcomes, placing the patient perspective at the heart of designing inclusive patient pathways is fundamental to improving the quality of care.

As healthcare professionals (HCPs) look to translate patient data – from time to diagnosis and treatment through to treatment measures – into day-to-day patient-centric pathways, it’s essential that the needs of the whole patient community are reflected. Often, those with the poorest outcomes – the elderly, the more vulnerable, those in rural areas or those who are more socially disadvantaged – are those who are most under-represented when mapping the patient journey.

ENGINE | MHP recently launched the Patient Voice Panel, in collaboration with the Patients Association, to help understand the unique perspectives of patient experiences living with long-term chronic conditions. The findings from our first panel indicated that there is still some way to go to achieve the ultimate ambition of today’s NHS – positioning all patients as equal partners in their own care. It became very clear that there is a real disparity in the quality and the breadth of services offered to patients along their treatment pathway but there were some key themes raised during the Panel discussion that provide critical signposts for HCPs when mapping patient journeys.

Collaboration: Patient groups and industry are a vital part of the solution. Working in partnership with HCPs, they can provide much needed resource, innovation and insight to enhance the patient journey from diagnosis, supporting clinical touchpoints as part of an individual’s treatment and care.

Insight-led data: Alongside real-world data, sharing insights into disease specific populations enables the development and delivery of engagement strategies that support HCPs in identifying where and how to target resources along the pathway. This can be instrumental in helping to manage behavioural and adherence challenges, as well as reflecting the needs of diverse patient communities to help address health inequalities.

Integrating insights from carers and family members into the decision-making process provides a significant step in helping to manage the clinical and ethical challenges facing some of those patients in the more vulnerable groups.

Digital transformation: With the £2.1bn recently pledged to digitally transform the NHS, we can expect to see an increase in connectivity and adoption of digital tools that will be crucial in supporting patients as part of a radical reshaping of the model of health and care delivery. Early signposting from personalised digital aids can lead to significant improvements in meeting patient needs and delivery of care.

Although health technology is transforming health systems to create more patient-centric services, it’s important to recognise that not all patients can engage on equal terms with digital services. Digital engagement shouldn’t come at the cost of patient choice.

Choice: Patient choice must be at the centre of mapping a pathway that is truly patient-centric. It’s important to ensure that the patients don’t feel disenfranchised from the decision-making process simply because it involves an approach or a channel that they struggle to engage with. Industry and patient groups are instrumental in sharing insights into patient preferences for receiving and engaging with health information, enabling clinicians to improve efficiency of care and to identify areas for improvement.

The overwhelming theme that came from patients sharing their experiences on our Panel was that making patients true partners in their own care is fundamental to driving and shaping real change in health and social care. But, do we genuinely understand the barriers that patients face on their journeys to receiving optimal care that is right for them? And what steps can we take to ensure that the existing evidence base is representative of diverse communities?

We must go beyond the traditional routes to identify innovative approaches to help HCPs understand the daily lives of the many, not just the educated, informed few. Working in partnership with community ambassadors for more diverse communities is critical to providing insight into championing and engaging this important population, enhancing every step of the patient journey.

Only by finding routes to broaden our insights into the patient base can we fully support HCPs in mapping pathways that are representative of all patients – and ultimately achieve equitable patient-centric and sustainable healthcare systems for the future.

The Patient Voice Panel is part of ENGINE | MHP’s commitment to ensuring that patient experiences help shape the decisions and strategies of organisations involved in healthcare.

It also allows first-hand insights into patients’ views on hotly debated healthcare topics – enabling co-created recommendations that can improve patients’ experiences and outcomes.

The findings are drawn from a small sample of the UK patient population. Responses provide insights into patient views across a diverse group of people from across the UK. Further details regarding the results are available on request from mhpadvocacy@mhpc.com.

Alison Dunlop is Snr Director Patient Advocacy at ENGINE | MHP

Alison Dunlop is Snr Director Patient Advocacy at ENGINE | MHP

11th March 2022

From: Marketing

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