The 2nd international Kaiku meeting took place at the old Lapinlahti mental hospital on March 17th. More than 80 guests from different countries attended to hear five keynote presentations on the theme “Patient empowerment in the connected world”.
While each keynote speaker approached the topic from a different perspective, the common denominator for all the presentations was shedding light on how the role of the patient is changing: emerging technologies are providing means to meet the needs and expectations of patients – or health care consumers, as the CEO Philips, Belgium and Luxemburg Mario Huygh put it. The line between “patient” (someone who is receiving treatment for a disorder) and “non-patient” is becoming increasingly blurred, as health care services are adopting more holistic and preventive care models.
CEO Timo Lappi and Lead Nurse Kaisa Ojala from Heltti presented the Heltti model, a new way of providing occupational health care services, with more focus on preventive care. Heltti has indeed embraced new technology in their business, as they have shown that more than three quarters of patient contacts can be managed remotely. The combination of preventive health care services and new technology adoption have allowed Heltti to provide very efficient health care services, catering to the needs of today’s knowledge worker.
The presentations from doctors von Briel (Radiotherapie Hirslanden) and Lähteenmäki (Turku University Hospital) provided insights in how patient-reported outcome follow-up can be leveraged to provide more comprehensive and patient-centric (follow-up) care. Dr. von Briel shared his and his team’s hands-on experience in implementing patient-reported outcome follow-up as part of routine care. Only through careful protocol design (what questions are asked and when, is the language understandable to the patients etc.) and continuous support for the clinical staff, can patient-centric care truly be improved. Dr. Lähteenmäki explained how online collection of patient-reported outcome is an essential piece in providing a more comprehensive and tailored follow-up care for survivors of childhood cancer. It is especially useful in assessing long-lasting psychosocial impacts of surviving cancer.
The silence among the audience was deafening when Matilda Mela recounted her personal story of surviving cancer as a young adult in an intensely emotional presentation. For her, remission came with anxiety, panic attacks, sleeplessness and self-destructive thoughts. It took her years to realize she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She highlighted the need for psychological services and peer support, especially after the treatment is over.
To summarize, in the future, health care will not take place only in hospitals during appoints. Information and communication technology allows for a more continuous delivery of health care services, independent of location and time. While designing and implementing new health care service models is not without its challenges, the new models will help in delivering a more personalized and holistic health care.