Healthcare

New study identifies barriers to a more human and flexible healthcare experience

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GE Healthcare’s Reimaging Better Health study uncovers that the very advancements driving the healthcare system forward also pose significant challenges for both patients and clinicians.

GE HealthCare (Nasdaq: GEHC), a leading medical technology, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and digital solutions innovator, released Reimagining Better Health, a qualitative and quantitative study that amplifies the perspectives and needs of people at the centre of healthcare —patients and clinicians.

The study aims to help inform a path forward as stressors such as burnout, workforce attrition and patient backlogs test the resiliency of health systems. Participants were asked to answer questions pertaining to the healthcare system as a whole based on their personal experiences and observations.

The results reveal many of the developments that are propelling the system forward are also a source of challenges that patients and clinicians experience. Specifically, the study found distrust in AI, low technological interoperability across the healthcare system, workforce burnout, fragmented care collaboration and accessibility to care are some of the pain points today.

“Progress can also bring with it tension. In a specialized field like healthcare, resolving that tension is complex and it starts by listening to those who are at the center of care,” GE HealthCare President and CEO Peter Arduini said.

Reimagining Better Health is a bold reminder of the barriers to overcome, and a call to action to all stakeholders in healthcare to innovate and problem solve with a focus on the needs of patients and clinicians. Together, we can transform these insights into action to build a bridge to the future state– a more human and flexible healthcare system.”

Recognition of the Promise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Coupled with Low Trust

Today, AI technologies in healthcare are designed to improve patient experience and outcomes, automate tasks and enhance productivity. While a majority of clinicians surveyed believe AI can support clinical decision-making (61 per cent), enables faster health interventions (54 per cent) and helps to improve operational efficiency (55 per cent), the study shows distrust and skepticism around AI in medical settings– without reference to specific products– is prevalent among all stakeholders.

Only 42 per cent of clinicians overall indicate AI data can be trusted. In the U.S., this number dips to 26 per cent. Clinicians with more than 16 years of experience are even more skeptical of AI, with only 33 per cent trusting the quality of AI data.

Additionally, clinicians believe that while AI can help to reduce care disparities (54 per cent) the technology is also subject to built-in biases (44 per cent).

Dr Guy Lloyd, a cardiologist and specialist in diagnostic imaging who participated in the study, highlights the importance of healthcare leaders preparing for the changes of tomorrow, “AI is going to fundamentally change the way people work,” he predicts.

“In my world, which is imaging, we’re going to be moving from interpretation and measuring to communications and contextualization. A challenge is making sure everyone is brought along for the ride.”

Low Trust in New Care Delivery Models

Patients cite greater flexibility in how, where and when healthcare services are delivered as their top priority for the future, even ahead 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 are not very comfortable with delivering clinical care outside the traditional clinical environment (50 per cent).

Patients are also apprehensive about new care delivery methods and are not very comfortable with at-home or out-of-clinic testing (62 per cent) without supervision.  Additionally, who delivers the care matters to patients. While most patients (67 per cent) have a high level of trust in their family doctor, trust levels fall when considering other healthcare professionals. Slightly more than half of patients (52 per cent) lack trust in healthcare workers who are not hospital doctors or nurses, midwives or pharmacists to provide appropriate health advice.

Connectivity in a Fragmented System

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

While patients and clinicians want relevant patient health data to be available across systems and platforms, this has not been fully realised. Forty-one per cent of clinicians are not convinced they have timely access to reliable electronic patient records and approximately one-third of patients (35 per cent) share concerns that clinicians treating them do not have access to their relevant health data.

Workforce is Defined by Burnout

A staggering 42 per cent of clinicians surveyed reported that they are actively considering leaving the healthcare industry, according to the study. Additionally, 39 per cent do 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 per cent of clinicians said they do not feel fully supported by leadership.

Patients are feeling the impact of clinician burnout, with 43 per cent saying they do not feel heard by clinicians and less than half (42 per cent) saying clinicians empathize with their personal situation and how it affects their treatment.

A Unified Goal

In terms of a vision for what should lie ahead, 99 per cent of clinicians completely or somewhat agree with the 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 will take place both within and outside of traditional clinical environments, such as in patients’ homes; 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 defines a clear goal – a more human and flexible healthcare system.  GE HealthCare is sharing its findings to encourage discussion, partnerships and action with stakeholders across the industry: patients, the broad spectrum of healthcare professionals, healthcare leaders, elected government officials, technology industry leaders and the public.

All are invited to consider their role in overcoming these barriers so that all can benefit from better care and an optimised experience. Use #ReimaginingBetterHealth to join the conversation online and help pave the way to a more human and flexible healthcare system.

Download your free copy of Reimagining Better Health 2023 Report to find out more.

 

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