June 17, 2024

New Zealand clinicians hope for a patient-centred future, but hurdles abound: report

Like many healthcare systems around the world, New Zealand’s healthcare system is also under enormous pressure, plagued by clinician burnout, patient dissatisfaction, and rising costs.

To reimagine the future of healthcare and build a sustainable system that can meet the challenges of the post-pandemic era, the voices (and frustrations) of patients and clinicians must be heard. The good news, however, is that patients and clinicians alike have hope for a common future.

The IS Reimagining Better Healthcare The report found that patients want more control over their health journey but find it difficult to access the care they need in a siled system, made up of many groups of clinicians and specialists, departments and sites that do not interact or integrate easily.

Their main priority is access to digital solutions that allow earlier and faster detection, assessment and treatment of their health condition and/or potential health problems.

Meanwhile, New Zealand clinicians want to work in partnership with patients and 99% also believe digital solutions that encourage collaboration between patients and care teams hold the key.

They envision a future where patients play a more active role in an integrated care team experience; in which clinicians work together across disciplines to address the patient’s holistic needs.

To make this happen, we need a connected ecosystem of smart technology, where medical devices will work in harmony, regardless of manufacturer or operating system.

Integration will enable clinicians to access and analyze patient data in real time, supporting timely and efficient processing, and better patient communication and understanding.

But there are significant barriers.

New Zealand clinicians say they lack the communication, collaboration and technology skills needed to incorporate the patient into the clinical process earlier, and 46% are unsure they have access to electronic patient records in a timely manner.

Post-pandemic technological innovations continue to advance the world at an unprecedented pace, and clinicians feel it is an uphill battle, always climbing the learning curve.

The report’s findings indicate that 45% of New Zealand clinicians feel they do not receive adequate training (both initial and ongoing) to use available medical technology to its full potential.

The lack of data interoperability (the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and use information) creates a significant barrier to achieving effective partnerships between patients and care teams.

The current state of patient data collection is inefficient, and data is collected from different devices and software that are not integrated. This results in burned out and inefficient workflows for clinicians, who spend their time and energy, collecting and analyzing data separately and frustrated from patients.

Compounding the issue, 49% of New Zealand clinicians reported that medical technologies within their departments do not seamlessly integrate with each other, requiring manual data entry. Patients echo these concerns, with 35% expressing concern about clinicians’ limited access to their relevant health data.

The lack of data interoperability is a major headache for clinicians and hospitals.

It disrupts work flows and delays treatment. It empowers AI to unleash public health insights, holistic patient data, and faster decision-making. Underutilization of data hinders workflows and delays treatment, affecting both care teams and patients.

Interoperability is key to the future of healthcare, along with bringing the patient into the formal clinical process earlier. Recently, a meeting of global health technology assessment regulators in Adelaide – among other measures – agreed to the patient’s voice was severely lacking in the approval process for lifesaving medicines and health technologies.

The post-pandemic era presents an exciting opportunity to shape a future where healthcare harnesses the power of technology and interconnected data. Removing the barriers facing our industry will provide a more sustainable healthcare system where patients and clinicians are partners in navigating patient healthcare journeys together.

Amit Yadav is currently CEO of a global medical technology and digital solutions provider GE Healthcare in Australia and New Zealand. He has been with GE Healthcare for over 15 years, holding various positions such as ANZ Chief Growth Office; ASEAN, Korea, and ANZ Commercial Excellence Leader; ANZ Executive Business Development Manager.

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