How technology can empower the patient as partner

Seamlessly integrated technology platforms helped healthcare organisations react swiftly to the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring safe and secure patient care after the world shut down. That same technology is changing the way doctors and patients interact.
09:15 AM

When the coronavirus pandemic reached London, like many healthcare organisations, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) leveraged digital technology, like its electronic document management solution, to help move employees to remote working status, avoid disruptions in vital health services, increase its telehealth capabilities, and more. Now, as the world grows more accustomed to living alongside COVID-19, UHS is using that same technology to evolve beyond the pandemic – and asking its patients to come along on the journey.

“We want to convert our patients from being passive receivers of care to being more actively involved in their care,” explained Adrian Byrne, chief information officer at University Hospital Southampton, a guest speaker during Hyland’s Virtual EMEA Healthcare Forum in September. “We want our patients to become partners.”

Encouraging a partnership between doctor and patient

Others have explored the concept of the patient as a full-fledged partner of the healthcare delivery team. A 2015 study published in PLOS ONE measured patient engagement within an active patient-partner program. The study found that patients who were given the opportunity to act as a healthcare partner played a more active role in their treatment, regardless of how well other members of the healthcare team regarded their input. It’s that type of engagement UHS is looking for.

“This is not just about patient self-management,” Byrne said. “This is monitored care with patient-triggered follow-up.”

Building a solid technology foundation for patient partnering

Embracing the patient as a partner means giving patients equal access to clinical information. By enjoying the same comprehensive view of their healthcare journey as their professional partners, as well as finding simple ways to provide feedback and receive communication from doctors, patients engage more – and report greater satisfaction – with their care. It improves trust and strengthens the patient/doctor relationship.

The challenge for many healthcare organisations, though, is gaining that complete view. As much as 80 percent of clinically relevant content, like medical images and third-party archives, lives outside of the electronic patient record (EPR), according to Gartner. This unstructured data often includes patient-generated information, data on CDs and DVDs, and even content captured on smartphones and tablets. If the care-delivery team can’t access the information the patient submits, and the patient can’t review data the team collects, the partnership is already jeopardised.

Using technology to enable a stronger patient partnership

“What we need to do is create a connected healthcare platform,” said Saduf Ali-Drakesmith, manager, Solution Engineers, Hyland Healthcare. “Better healthcare begins by linking that unstructured content to your EPR. When it is done right, and it is deployed enterprise-wide, it can serve as the core platform for all your patient information across the healthcare organisation.”

The goal is to ensure clinicians’ – and patients’ – access to data is streamlined and intuitive. Hyland Healthcare’s enterprise information platform, OnBase, unifies clinical content, including medical images and photos, complementing the EPR and establishing a more complete electronic patient record. By integrating your EPR with OnBase, the care-delivery team accesses clinical content from within the EPR rather than searching different systems for what they need. With easy and immediate access to information anytime and anywhere, clinicians and patients can spend more time building a sustainable healthcare partnership.

Leveraging the cloud for added flexibility and accessibility

To take the patient partnership one step further, and to become more nimble in a new normal that demands flexibility, healthcare systems should also consider hosting content services in the cloud. The healthcare industry lags behind other sectors in cloud adoption, said Windham, director, Global Healthcare Services, Hyland Healthcare, but by embracing a cloud-first approach not only frees IT resources and reduces overhead costs, it helps healthcare organisations do more with less – a situation familiar to most. Moving to (a tailored cloud), like the Hyland Cloud, shifts the ownership – and time commitment – of platform care and maintenance to Hyland experts.

“IT resources are focused instead on internal stakeholders,” said Windham. “They are enhancing processes or finding new ways to serve patients. The cloud grants you the opportunity to become a more innovative healthcare leader and partner with the patient.”

To learn more visit


Want to get more stories like this one? Get daily news updates from Healthcare IT News.
Your subscription has been saved.
Something went wrong. Please try again.