Trends in personalized medicine and participatory care are leading to new relationships between physicians and their patients, while reams of digital data, often produced by the patients themselves, are changing the nature of individualized healthcare.
Frank Cutitta, CEO of HealthTech Decisions Lab, led a panel of experts including Jan Oldenburg, principal at Participatory Health Consulting, Moritz Hartmann, global head of Roche Information Solutions for Roche Diagnostics, and Michael Millenson, president of Health Quality Advisors on a talk about how digital tools, online information sources and health data are making new care approaches possible.
“The next step is to have patient empowering tools that ensure there is the same data available to them and they are given the opportunity to participate in the decision making in an educated way, like with MySugar,” said Hartmann. “These tools can provide them with better information to help them make their own decisions.”
Oldenburg said one of the opportunities in participatory medicine is for patients and doctors to figure out together what is the meaning not only of data-driven insights, but also what should be done to collaborate on the right treatment for the individual.
“Not every diabetic has the same lifestyles, values and goals,” she said. “When we start bringing into the picture what their goals are, what fits into their values, and what’s going on specifically with their health in the context of that lifestyle, we can bring in insight-based decision making.”
Millenson pointed out where the healthcare system is headed will be guided by medical evidence, personal genomics, and patient preferences and values, which can also be driven by data the patient has access to by reliable sources.
“Collaborative health is where the patient and the physician are working together and includes all sorts of different actors that were never acting that way before,” he said. “What’s going to tie it all together is good digital data, and it’s an exciting period that will be good for patients and good for others.”
Oldenburg explained that while there is an initial reaction among physicians of, ‘Wait, I’m the one with the medical degree’, there’s an increasing acceptance of living in a world where everyone has access to medical information, and patients can find a great deal of info that is peer reviewed and credible.
“They have insights to offer that their doctor may not understand, and when patient and doctor bring those two knowledge bases together, they become a more powerful team,” she said.
Millenson noted the key in participatory care is to have trust and compassion.
“We really need to have a different relationship,” he said. “It’s a matter of generating data on yourself, while the physician has medical knowledge the patient can’t equal. A sense of humility on the part of both patient and physician when they interact is appropriate.”
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