Study reveals clear goal for future health care

Friday, 09 June, 2023

Study reveals clear goal for future health care

GE HealthCare, a company specialising in medical technology, pharmaceutical diagnostics and digital solutions, has released ‘Reimagining Better Health’, a qualitative and quantitative study that amplifies the perspectives and needs of people at the centre of health care — patients and clinicians.

The study consisted of a double-blinded quantitative survey of 5500 patients and patient advocates along with 2000 clinicians across eight countries, in addition to qualitative interviews. Participants were asked to answer questions pertaining to the healthcare system as a whole based on their personal experiences and observations.

As stressors such as burnout, workforce attrition and patient backlogs test the resiliency of health systems, the study aims to help inform a path forward for health care.

The results revealed that many of the developments intended to propel the system forward are also a source of frustration for patients and clinicians. Specifically, the study found distrust in AI, low technological interoperability across the healthcare system, workforce burnout, fragmented care collaboration and accessibility to care were major pain points.

Attitudes to artificial intelligence (AI)

AI technologies in health care are designed to improve patient experience and outcomes, automate tasks and enhance productivity. While a majority of clinicians surveyed believed AI could support clinical decision-making (61%), enable faster health interventions (54%) and help to improve operational efficiency (55%), the study also revealed a level of distrust and scepticism around AI in medical settings — without reference to specific products — was prevalent among all stakeholders.

Only 42% of clinicians overall indicated that AI data could be trusted; in the US, the number dipped to 26%. Clinicians with more than 16 years of experience were even more sceptical about AI, with only 33% trusting the quality of AI data.

Additionally, clinicians believed that while AI could help to reduce care disparities (54%) the technology is also subject to built-in biases (44%).

Low trust in new care-delivery models

Patients’ top priority for the future was greater flexibility in how, where and when healthcare services are delivered — this came in ahead even of technology solutions that enable faster detection of potential health issues. However, the flexibility of distributed care administered beyond the walls of the clinic can create challenges.

Half of clinicians were not very comfortable with delivering clinical care outside the traditional clinical environment (50%).

Patients were also apprehensive about new care-delivery methods and were not very comfortable with at-home or out-of-clinic testing (62%) without supervision. Additionally, the role of the person delivering the care mattered to patients. While most patients (67%) expressed a high level of trust in their family doctor, trust levels fell when considering other healthcare professionals. Slightly more than half of patients (52%) lacked trust in healthcare workers who were not hospital doctors, nurses, midwives or pharmacists to provide appropriate health advice.

Connectivity in a fragmented system

Some of this discomfort in new care-delivery models can perhaps be attributed to low technological interoperability across the healthcare system. Just over half of clinicians said medical technologies seamlessly integrate with each other and are easy to use and intuitive (51% and 53%, respectively).

While both patients and clinicians wanted relevant patient health data to be available across systems and platforms, this has not been fully realised. Forty-one per cent of clinicians were not convinced they had timely access to reliable electronic patient records, and approximately one-third of patients (35%) were concerned that clinicians treating them did not have access to their relevant health data.

Burnout is a critical issue

The study revealed that a staggering 42% of clinicians surveyed were actively considering leaving the healthcare industry. Additionally, 39% did not feel a sense of pride in their profession.

Across the eight countries surveyed, inadequate compensation and poor work-life balance were among the top reasons cited for exiting the workforce. Further, 47% of clinicians said they did not feel fully supported by leadership.

Patients were also feeling the impact of clinician burnout, with 43% saying they didn’t feel heard by clinicians and less than half (42%) believing that clinicians empathised with their personal situation and how it affected their treatment.

A clear goal for the future

In terms of a vision for what should lie ahead, 99% of clinicians completely or somewhat agreed on a definition of the future as one in which: patients and care teams are more intimately linked together in a partnership via technology solutions; patient care and medical treatment take place both within and outside of traditional clinical environments; and the healthcare ecosystem is expanded to include a more varied range of healthcare workers, some of which may not be present today.

‘Reimagining Better Health’ uncovered a clear goal — a more human-centred and flexible healthcare system focused on the needs of both clinicians and patients. GE HealthCare is sharing its findings to encourage discussion, partnerships and actions among stakeholders across the industry: patients, the broad spectrum of healthcare professionals, healthcare leaders, elected government officials, technology industry leaders and the public.

Image credit: PeopleImages

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