4 principles guiding healthcare's age of enlightenment

There are many emerging themes and movements driving healthcare innovation and evolution, which is comparable to the Age of Enlightenment with its new discoveries and ways of solving problems, Forbes contributor Dave Chase wrote in his most recent column.

Chase identified major precepts from healthcare's innovative thinkers, including:

  1. True patient centricity. Healthcare providers finally realize the industry revolves around patients rather than their organizations. When hospitals realize this, they can think of patient engagement less as a way to boost marketing, and more as a way to engage patients, families and caretakers who play a crucial part in making decisions involving preventive care. Including patients in shared decision-making and truly listening to their healthcare concerns is a trademark of an "enlightened" organization, Chase wrote.

  2. Healthcare partnerships. More than ever, hospital boards, C-suite executives and physicians must team up to build the optimal healthcare network and create a more complete picture of a patient's health and wellness history. Instead of focusing on health information exchanges, enlightened healthcare teams work with a patient-controlled collaborative health record that combines patients' medical history, health habits and biometric data with test results that can be shared with other doctors, according to Chase.

  3. Communication. Hospitals and physicians looking to truly improve the healthcare experience want to expand their communication skills to place just as much focus on the time the patient is away from the healthcare facility as they do on an office visit, Chase wrote. Patient-provider communication is essential, so hospitals and doctors now use social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, ExactTarget and Zendesk to keep in touch when patients head home. However, they must go beyond those modes to find tools better suited for consumer engagement.

  4. Data-driven initiatives. Patient data can bring many healthcare issues to light. Remotely monitoring patients' weight, blood pressure, heart rate and other vitals can improve outcomes and patients' quality of life, Chase wrote. Remote monitoring saves patients a trip to the hospital or office and allows providers a more complete picture of overall health. Tools such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Open Notes Project allow patients to access their health records to verify information, helping identify errors and create a more accurate view of the patient so doctors can do their best work.

Chase encouraged hospitals and healthcare facilities to learn and adapt quickly if they want to succeed in an ever evolving industry. "Naturally, to stay enlightened, one must constantly learn from experience and observation," Chase wrote. 

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