Value-based care and rethinking the patient experience

“I think patient experience assumes a very linear relationship with the patient. ... My dream is that we have a better way to build a relationship with our patients,” said Dr. Eugene Soh, CEO, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.
By Dean Koh
10:57 PM

Healthcare leader representatives from Singapore, Australia and the Philippines took centre stage as the HIMSS Singapore eHealth & Health 2.0 Summit officially kicked off on April 23 with the CXO Panel session on the topic of disruptive innovation for value-based care. 

“Today’s healthcare model is based on ‘more is better,’ but I think the healthcare model of tomorrow ought to be when ‘better is more.’ When we look at that shift from the volume to value-driven care approach to how we are going to look after our patients, and take care of them with themselves being ‘activated’ to so, it will change the paradigm of how healthcare is interpreted and can be delivered,” explained Dr. Eugene Soh, chief executive officer, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. 

According to Dr. Soh, what value-based care means to him is the idea of how to expand value over time and space because value is delivered today in a very episodic manner and he believes the future will be a more relationship-based model.

From his experience working in the Philippines, Mr. Christian Besler, chief digital officer, Ayala Healthcare, said that what value-based care means to him is threefold: bringing about affordability, accessibility and quality of healthcare to the masses, especially in a country where good quality healthcare tends to be concentrated in urban areas.

The role of telehealth

Dr. Stephen Chan, chief medical information officer, Woodlands Health Campus Singapore, who was also the panel moderator, posed the question on the role of telehealth in Singapore to the panel: Despite the country’s small geographical size, could telehealth be customised to the local population? Is it more than just “access” for the modern day consumer? 

Dr. Soh cautioned that the idea of telehealth should not just be transactional in nature but that care can follow the patient – it is about a community of carers that work with the patient. Mr. Besler echoed a similar sentiment: “Telehealth should not just be about the monetary value, it should be about bringing value to patient, allowing them to choose encounters with healthcare based on their time and convenience.” 

Although he did not have a direct experience from the perspective of a private healthcare provider in Singapore, Dr. Peng Chung Mien, chief executive officer, Farrer Park Hospital, said that his hospital is currently on a trial with insurance companies to use telehealth for assessment to see if clients need to physically go to an emergency department for treatment. This is in the context in which there are a lot of instances of people going into hospitals’ emergency departments for non-emergency-related cases.

He added that the Ministry of Health’s regulation is that the first consultation of the patient with the doctor should always be in-person, and only subsequently followed up with telehealth sessions if required after the relationship has been established.

Rethinking the patient experience 

The ongoing theme during the panel session was back to the fundamentals in healthcare: how to bring about value, ultimately for patients and how to empower them. In short, how can patients be empowered to have ownership of their care? Mr. Besler shared that it helps to give patients access to their healthcare data and records, empowering them with information and advice, having that constant encounter of care that will improve their experience. 

Sharing his perspective from Australia, Mr. Chris Mitchell, executive director of Information Communications & Technology, Hunter New England Health District, said that while it is relatively new, there is a movement toward the tagline "Nothing about me, without me," that is, really putting patients at the centre of care and any decisions being made is made in consultation with the patient.

Parking of cars might be an afterthought for hospital design, but one of the patient-centric features that Dr. Peng said is happening at Farrer Park Hospital are parking spaces that allow two cars to park alongside each other yet also accommodate space for wheelchair and lift access. 

“I think patient experience assumes a very linear relationship with the patient, one that happens at intervals and transactions in the healthcare model. My dream is that we have a better way to build a relationship with our patients,” Dr. Soh ended the session on a philosophical note.