Healthcare is one of the most underrated and yet one of the most vital prerequisite in our lives. Undoubtedly, healthcare services are basic needs of every human being and when a health situation turns critical, it takes priority over all other aspects of life.
Healthcare systems are normally designed all over the world to ensure access to care, minimize cost and improve outcomes. Healthcare providers manage limited resources and juggle between different priorities to achieve these objectives in a sustainable manner. Though diverse approach and solutions may work in different environments, yet the underlying fundamental factors are common which drive the field of medicine almost universally. With a sudden surge of modernization in all fields, healthcare providers also need to keep pace with advancing healthcare requirements by the patients.
Trust, Treatment and Technology are the Three T’s that can depict the future of healthcare or the three pillars of medicine on which the delivery of healthcare services would mature in the patient centric era in the coming decades.
Trust is the most important element in healthcare and it truly needs to be earned.
A lot has been written about patient centric approach in healthcare over the last few years. Indeed, patient should be the focal point in an ideal system, where healthcare providers work collaboratively with patients thereby enabling informed decisions and achieving better outcomes. This would only be feasible if doctors and patients are able to truly understand each other while building trust, which is essentially the foundation of all human relationships.
Trust binds and inspires both doctors and patients to achieve common objectives. On one hand, when a patient feels emotionally attached and trusts a healthcare provider, the focus in the relationship is to have better diagnosis, informed decisions and improved care, from the very beginning of the treatment process. In most of such cases, doctor-patient bonding leads to better medical outcomes.
On the other side, when a doctor is aware of the trust in doctor-patient relationship, the doctor can be sure that the patient would most likely adhere to the treatment plan. Doctors maximize the chances of treatment success in collaborative environment and achieve higher patient satisfaction rates.
Various aspects which are normally considered in patient centric care include patient preferences, openness to provide information, informed consent for procedures, collaborative decision on medication, emotional support, physical comfort, involvement of the family, continuity and transition of care at home, and access to services in future. Trust in the doctor-patient relationship ensures all these at each stage of the treatment process, thereby increasing the collaboration.
Trust cannot be built overnight. Trust is built based on experiences and outcomes over a continuous period of time. In the coming years, any entity in healthcare services must not only provide excellent medical services but also emphasize to develop emotional bond between the doctors and the patients. Collaborative approach as well as good communication between doctors and patients strengthens the relationship while establishing the desired trust.
Healthcare is all about getting the right treatment at the right time at the right healthcare facility. Medicine is a science as well as art, where clinical acumen and the art of treatment establishes the proficiency of doctor while treating particular medical situations.
Every day, doctors interact with millions of patients to understand and act on various medical conditions. This knowledge, gained through human experience and interactions, not only enables treatment of patients but also lays the foundation of future research. Technology has been aiding the research in medicine, and treatment would become more and more personalized in the coming years. Medical universities and hospitals have been adopting cutting edge technologies at each stage, including diagnosis, procedures, medications and preventive healthcare.
Research continues to transform the field of medicine by bringing new and innovative methods to treat and manage various medical conditions. For any medical method or approach, it is a long journey from idea to trials, and finally, acceptance, for benefits of society. Undoubtedly, the field of medicine is a noble profession as professionals focus and put their sincere efforts in providing a healthy life to other people in the society.
Challenge of numerous untreatable diseases or difficult medical conditions would continue to intrigue the field of medicine. Nonetheless, the spirit, inspiration and commitment of healthcare professionals would enable the society to overcome these, one by one, at each step in future.
Technology is a tool or an enabler which empowers the providers and the seekers of healthcare services to achieve better care outcomes at an acceptable cost. Technology would continue to change healthcare access in ways never imagined before.
A closer look at the healthcare sector makes us realize that the adoption of technology has been highly successful when it comes to infrastructure providers, medical research and diagnosis, whereas the same has been missing when it comes to the crucial link between doctors and patients. This would change rapidly in the coming years.
Doctors have been flooded with options for various technology solutions in their daily practice at clinics and hospitals, where these solutions have been developed and implemented more from a technology perspective rather than solving real problems. However, this is changing fast with everyday technology. Modern technology makes it possible to use tools, for example video consultation, in everyday life for general patient consultations in chronic cases, follow ups and second opinion. Such follow up results in patient convenience, completion of treatment process and better results, both for patients as well as for the healthcare facilities.
In the coming years, technology would further enable healthcare providers to focus on more effective patient care by providing them tools for better diagnosis, more efficient procedures and easier monitoring throughout the treatment process.
None of these pillars alone is sufficient. Technology may bring powerful tools to assimilate and process large amounts of healthcare information. Nevertheless, experience of healthcare providers gained through human interaction is the driving factor in field of medicine. On the contrary, healthcare providers cannot achieve improved and accurate outcomes without the aid of technology. Lastly, neither technology nor treatment can be successful and sustainable without trust between various stakeholders.
Healthcare services can achieve their objectives in a sustainable way only if their foundation is laid on the three pillars of Trust, Treatment and Technology.
Today, on doctors’ day, let us all commit to collaborate and build exceptional healthcare system on the pillars of Trust, Treatment and Technology.