Self-Care Challenges Amidst Modern Healthcare Complexity

Dr. Adam Tabriz

Promoting Patient Self-Care Demands Tools That Can Support Shared Decision Making
Photo byJackson David on Unsplash

Preventing, managing, and treating patient illnesses while preserving their mental and physical well-being is one of the tasks of our epoch.

Despite the significant progress we have made in diagnostics and treatment modalities, we still need an efficient system in place by which we can ensure the even distribution of patient care to all citizens.

Over the last few decades, we have transitioned from a disease-centered approach to patient-centered medical care. That means treating patients on case-by-case bases and providing medical services to help them heal and return to normal is no longer the correct approach.

Patient care is moving out of the physician exam rooms to the patients' homes and even smartphones. And the primary driver of that metamorphosis is the evolving and increasing millennials and generation Z's expectation to stay healthy on their "individual" terms.

The current generation wants better, more efficient, affordable health and well-being options. Such a rugged attitude is why healthcare leaders are more than ever pushing toward creating some form of patient engagement and self-care.

However, upholding self-care and meeting patient expectations alone without proper planning and execution logistics is the cradle for high cost and fiscal waste. That is not to mention the price physicians must pay to meet those expectations with their time and administrative burden associated with implementing self-care and patient expectations.

Furthermore, with the radical transition from a fee-for-service reimbursement model to a value-based system, the need for contemporary logistics is even more inescapable. That is unless we want to see more physician burnout, disgruntled patients, and escalated healthcare costs.

Patient engagement is about engaging patients to make the right and wire decisions. If the medical community fails to recognize the concept of self-care, millennials will seek their wisdom from "Dr. Google," But is that truly what healthcare leaders want?

The activated or engaged patients will seek information regardless, be it from the ocean of un-refined information of Dr. Google or their medical experts' help.

A genuinely engaged patient in self-care takes up positive behavior in managing their physical and mental upkeep.

Self-care And Patient Engagement Need Fitting Tools

Self-care and management typically pertain to monitoring and managing symptoms and signs of illness. It is about protecting and promoting a lifestyle that positively impacts our emotional and physical state and helps us adhere to the recommended medical regimen.

Therefore, tools needed for self-care must facilitate timely communication and data exchange between the consented parties. That form of planning and execution instrument is ideally a transparent, real-time, and interactive milieu, yet private and secure.

Challenges And Barriers To Promoting Patient Self-Care

Engaging patients in self-care comes with sundry challenges. Although one can point to endless reasons why a patient may fail to take up self-care, there are four significant reasons why an individual may not engage in their care.

The first and most important reason is communication barriers. After all, just telling a patient what to do to stay healthy never suffices to engage them in self-care.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, continuity of care that follows the patient out of the doctor's office to the patient's home is the prime essence of modern patient care. That makes the necessity for robust communication and interaction platforms even more pertinent.

The vehicle for optimal communication accommodates a collaborative and interactive environment for those with language and cultural barriers.

Low patient literacy also imposes significant challenges, as informed decision-making is the basis for patient engagement and self-care at home, away from the medical clinic. Such a challenge drives a hybrid system that allows extra human handholding and patient education.

Constrained patient resources and social determinants of health are other obstacles to promoting self-care. Health equity is beyond resource availability for a specific group of people. While it is regarding the yield of options and opportunities for everyone fulfilled through a collaborative setting and tools where everyone can collaborate and not collude.

Similarly, the fourth and last challenge around establishing self-care is the setback in cultural competence and patient trust. The latter, along with the lack of access to resources and health equity, creates a vicious circle of distrust that further undermines the quality of medical care and self-care. That is why transparency in the system shall open multiple channels. Hence, it will create robust communication channels that are secure and controlled by the patients to engage them in self-care and eliminate distrust.

Take Home Message

Partnering with patients and founding a collaborative relationship between the medical team, patients and technology are necessary for a productive self-care mission. More so, it is the disposition to maintain continuity of care that ultimately prevents patient clinic unnecessary revisits and emergency room visits that healthcare leaders could avoid.

Offering two forms of patient-clinician encounter setting and medical staff work model allows the conservancy of intimate alliance between patients and their caregivers, including educators, facilitators, coordinators, and doctors. That applies to hybrid work and self-care logistics where every person, medical sensor, and tool can independently collaborate. Within every partaker, Plugin engages with one mission: providing patient-centered medical service.

Technology Hits publication initially publicized this article!


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