Reflection on future developments needed in the health sector

E-health, patient journey and loyalty of healthcare professionals

Great prospects for improving health organizations exist. Ideas are emerging more and more: participatory management, the ability to support teams through a culture that promotes empowerment, establishing innovative organizational and managerial solutions …

We observe an acceleration of digital innovation in health, reflected in particular by the offer to professionals of digital tools for medical decision-making, based on massive databases and artificial intelligence technologies. . The development in the use of technology for the prevention and monitoring of pathologies, thus induces changes in the methods of decision-making and care.

The challenge for healthcare professionals is to ensure continuity of care at each stage of the patient journey. This challenge could be met thanks to new technology providing healthcare professionals with tools capable of improving the patient experience as well as their own practice as professionals.

Digital tools appear as a way to streamline the patient journey but also to make it more attractive and personalized. While their development involves risks, it is nonetheless a tremendous opportunity to fundamentally transform our health system.

We are thinking, among other things, of the advantages of sharing data between specialists, for better prevention, better monitoring of treatments and optimization of costs …

E-health makes it possible to cope with the breaking points present throughout the journey, by providing the patient and health professionals with tools capable of remedying them:

  • upstream, during the prevention and information phase;
  • during the course of treatment;
  • downstream, when returning home and as a follow up to treatment.

Specialized in making medical appointments online and in teleconsultation, the French start-up Doctolib since its creation in 2013, has quickly won over practitioners and patients thanks to its ease of use. At high speed, Doctolib has climbed into the very closed club of unlisted start-ups which have a valuation of over one billion dollars. On the professional side, Doctolib reduces its secretarial costs, while reducing the number of withdrawals thanks to the appointment reminder by SMS. This leading position on the French market was reinforced by the acquisition of its main competitor MonDocteur.

Doctolib also anticipated one of the new turns in medicine, by offering teleconsultation. Remote consultations have been authorized by the Social Security financing law.

Teleconsultation allows doctors to work in more flexible conditions, making more use of their medical time, while ensuring and facilitating access to care for better medical monitoring of patients.

In addition, medical deserts in France are an important phenomenon, which has not abated in recent years. Faced with these territorial inequalities, telemedicine makes it possible to remove a number of obstacles to facilitate access to care. This phenomenon mainly concerns rural areas. This is an evolution of medicine, which meets the same requirements for quality of care and patient safety. Telemedicine is not intended to replace face-to-face medicine. Rather, it complements it, and responds as best as possible to the challenges posed by medical deserts and the growing needs of the population.

The risks associated with patient empowerment and empowerment

The consultation of online information sites and the numerous exchanges on social networks, allow the patient to have more and more information in matters of health and on his own pathology. Thanks to connected objects, he can collect and develop information in real time on his physical and psychological state. This new access to data changes its relationship with healthcare professionals and develops its autonomy.

This growing autonomy of the patient ensures emancipation and less dependence on the health system in its traditional form. However, the fact remains that it presents risks and limitations. It is increasingly easy to question the practitioner’s diagnosis on the basis of consultation of more or less informed opinions on the internet.

On the other hand, e-health tools require a certain technological and digital maturity on the part of the patient that not everyone has (despite a significant decline in the digital divide for those over 70). This observation echoes the inequalities of citizens in the face of digital technologies, which also applies to health technologies. These inequalities may eventually push some less technophile patients to the margins of a health system that would become “all digital”.

To limit these risks, the public authorities must play a leading role. Agnès Buzyn, Minister of Health, in particular underlined the need to ensure patient safety in the face of new e-health tools (we will think in particular of the necessary application of the General Data Protection Regulation).

The importance of attracting and retaining medical and paramedical personnel

The studies carried out insist on the continued evolution of mentalities and aspirations of young health professionals. Today, they want to reconcile personal and professional development (find a balance between private, family and professional life, control their working time, exercise in a secure environment).

This is one of the big considerations that we have in DentaNice dental centres. Our role is to provide a quality technical platform, a fluidity of the patient journey, and to ensure well-being at work for caregivers and non-carers (see: article “well-being at work”).

I am convinced that it is essential to provide medical professionals with a stimulating work environment.

The deployment of a constant process of medical attractiveness and the loyalty of practitioners is essential to sustain and develop the existing care offer. These efforts directly influence the improvement of the patient journey.

Building teams within a shared medical project is also an important lever for attractiveness. It is rarer today for a healthcare professional to set up on his own (liberal). It will often be more attractive and reassuring for the latter to have access to a multidisciplinary technical platform already in place.

In addition, the promotion of high potential, the motivation of the teams, the strengthening of the feeling of belonging are all themes which are of concern to medical and paramedical structures today.

We now need to learn how to better promote this HR service offering to current and potential staff, by opening up to new approaches and, consequently, by promoting the policies and values ​​of the establishments.

For example, to respond to the professional exhaustion of healthcare teams, especially nurses, a labelling program, the “Magnet Hospital Recognition Program”, has been developed in the United States.

This program distinguishes the so-called “magnetic” or “magnet” hospitals, recognized for combining high-performance health outcomes and working conditions deemed favourable by caregivers.

If no French health establishment has yet embarked on this labelling procedure, some are currently inspired by it and are leading initiatives towards their nursing staff.

Already used in the private sector by large companies, and increasingly by SMEs, this approach is still marginal in the health sector, despite national recommendations to this effect.

It is important to make yourself attractive to young professionals in the sector and to retain senior and experienced staff.

The role of the leaders of these structures is to promote new aspirations for practitioners in terms of professional projects and careers, quality of life at work and organizational management. There is a real need to update the management of these care establishments: we are talking about the impact of collective “care”. Health, like all other sectors, requires human and organizational management.

Please feel free to share your observations, experiences and remarks on this topic.

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