‘Put Power Back in the Hands of Patients’, Says KPMG
As the first in a series of papers from the Department of Health’s Whole System Demonstrator programme are published, Roberta Carter, Partner at KPMG, argues that the time has come to turn the NHS on its head empower patients to be active partners in driving their own healthcare needs.
She says: “Patient care shouldn’t begin and end at the threshold of a GP’s surgery or hospital door. Thanks to their experiences as online consumers, today’s patients are highly tech-literate – and they want to use their comfort with technology to regain control over their healthcare, becoming more directly involved in treatment plans and programmes.
“Just as online banking meant consumers could choose when to make a payment, the Government’s trials have demonstrated that patients with long-term conditions can regain control of their lives. They no longer have to juggle appointments, worry about test results or be led by the doctors’ roster. The trials have shown that technology enables our healthcare system to expand into patient homes, with phenomenal results. If implemented properly, which means changing the way medical professionals use their time and how care is provided, A&E visits drop by 15 percent, emergency admissions fall one-fifth and mortality rates decline significantly. Given the enormous benefits it makes sense to put the power of care directly in patients’ hands.
“When tele-enabled medicine was first mooted as an idea, doubters focused on the cost of implementation. The truth is that long-term efforts to create ‘switched on Britain’ mean that the infrastructure is already present across most of the country. More than that, by reducing hospital visits, budget is freed to be spent on the front line, enabling doctors and nurses to focus on cases where face to face attention is required and inaction is simply not an option. Through the trial, the UK has shown that it is a leader in redesigned, effective, healthcare. Perhaps, worldwide, our experiences can be a catalyst for change.”