According to a Johns Hopkins study, all it takes is “40 seconds” of undivided attention from providers to connect with patients and thereby improve their health outcomes. However, The Journal of General Internal Medicine quotes 56 per cent of physicians saying that they don’t have time to be compassionate. Can technology itself create that magical “40 seconds” enabling deeper patient-clinician engagement? Guruprasad S, Vice President and Director, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions believes that the answer lies in understanding “what” technology to be used and “how” it can provide a holistic connection
Humanity and science have always viewed each other as two opposing ends of a spectrum. Modern-day science and technology often stirs-up images of mass mechanisation, repetitive automation, all symbolic of a dangerous drift away from human contact and emotions. Domains like healthcare, are the very few places where the science of delivering care denotes close human proximity and touch. Can technology aid to augment this care delivery is the billion-dollar question!
“Lack of compassion” is a forerunner in the long list of challenges plaguing the healthcare industry, with research from Harvard indicating that up to 50 per cent of patients believe that providers are not compassionate. According to a Johns Hopkins study, all it takes is “40 seconds” of undivided attention from providers to connect with patients and thereby improve their health outcomes. The Journal of General Internal Medicine quotes 56 per cent of physicians saying that they don’t have time to be compassionate.
With an ever demanding increase in patients coupled with medico-legal requirements, healthcare providers are spending more time looking into their computer screens than looking a patient in the eye. In this scenario, can technology itself create that magical “40 seconds” enabling deeper patient-clinician engagement? The answer simply lies in understanding “what” technology to be used and “how” it can provide a holistic connection.
- The first layer “Connect them all”: With a multitude of monitoring devices and instruments, there is simply a huge volume of data a clinician has to deal with, which involves reviewing data from individual devices, assimilating their essence and analysing their outcomes/correlations. The power of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) can be leveraged through smart sensors that gather data from individual devices, assimilate using edge computing intelligence and present a refined summary to the clinician.
- The second layer “An experience continuum”: Care is largely about happenings between events. After ensuring efficient data management in one episode of care, technology can be further leveraged to aggregate information across multiple episodes of care. In other words, providing a unified patient record to the clinician, with the pertinent medical history, powered with artificial intelligence to effectively predict risk patterns.
- The third layer “Intelligence at its core”: The journey from care to cure is all about early diagnosis and identifying the right treatment pathways. Diagnostic results have always been the building blocks spearheading evidence-based decision and treatment plans. AI has the ability to drill down to pixel level intricacies to identify nuances that might escape human eyes. During the treatment course, Algorithmic monitoring of a patient’s recovery can be leveraged to predict the value of care. With the assistance of AI, amplified algorithms are enabling clinicians to assess and ensure effective clinical outcomes.
- The fourth layer “All under one umbrella”: Holistic handling is the hallmark of healthcare. A digital, advanced clinical decision support system, omnipresent on cloud infrastructure, with historical, current data, coupled with intelligence, can facilitate the transformation from “reactive” to “comprehensive” care. This inadvertently provides sufficient bandwidth for clinical functions to engage with patients through close human proximity and touch.
Thus, science and technology can make doctors be doctors, nurses to be nurses, and health care clinicians to care for people. After all, a mere “40 seconds”, is all the psychological comfort that is needed.
Acknowledgement: The author wishes to acknowledge Madhumitha Swaminathan, Strategy manager, Healthcare, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions for the valuable brainstorming leading to content development.