Member News: Digital Care Pathways - The Clinician
Digital Care Pathways - The Clinician - November 2021
Care pathways (also described as clinical pathways or patient care journeys) describe the stepwise movement of patients through the healthcare system. A care pathway typically begins with the identification of a health concern or issue, which is then followed by the necessary step(s) to address the problem. Care pathways have evolved as a means to provide patient groups sharing similar health concerns with a structured set of predictable, evidence-based and standardised steps to address those concerns. Typically, such care pathways have played out within the walls of the health system and have relied on a combination of physical interactions between patients and providers, manual follow-up and legacy health technology systems that add rather than ease burden. However, against the backdrop of COVID-19 and rising demands on health services, the traditional care pathway is set to drastically change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly transformed the way healthcare is delivered, as is evident in the widespread adoption of telehealth solutions and other digital health technologies. The accelerating need for care provision and patient monitoring beyond traditional healthcare settings has been a major catalyst for the digital transformation of care pathways, which are now increasingly becoming ‘Digital Care Pathways’.
Digital Care Pathways (DCPs) are an emerging concept in healthcare, utilising digital technologies to monitor and support patients throughout their healthcare journey. Specifically, DCPs enable timely exchange of health data and important information between patients at home or in the community and providers in the hospital or clinic. Replacing previously fragmented care processes that might involve siloed and unnecessary physical interactions with healthcare providers, DCPs play an important role in streamlining care and ensuring that the right information can be collected and accessed by the right person at the right time. Ultimately, DCPs enable the transition to more personalised, patient-centric and value-based care delivery.
Underpinning DCPs is the ability to digitally interact with patients wherever they are and facilitate the capture of critical patient-generated health data to inform treatment, monitor health status, improve patient-provider communication and measure the effects of treatment on patients’ day to day lives. Patient-generated health data (PGHD) includes health data collected directly from patients, including subjective patient-reported outcome and experience measures (PROMs and PREMs) as well as objective vitals captured through wearables or medical devices.
By wrapping the collection and analysis of PGHD from patients at home around existing treatment journeys, an entirely new way to monitor, support and engage patients outside the health system emerges. Specifically, healthcare providers are able to identify and prioritise high-risk events or patients automatically, personalise interventions according to a complete picture of each individual’s health status and ensure that patients only come to the hospital or clinic when absolutely necessary.
The benefits of DCPs are wide-reaching, with healthcare providers globally looking at how they can deliver more value-driven, digitally-enabled and efficient healthcare. To fully understand the what, why and how of DCPs, digital health company The Clinician has created an insightful eBook that compiles knowledge and learnings from real-world DCP implementations.
To access the eBook and learn more about DCPs you can click here: https://theclinician.com/ebook-digital-care-pathways