Jake Griffiths from O2 Health talks about how technology can have a positive impact on patient centered care.

Patient centred care is a buzzword that crops up a lot when discussing how to improve our health and care system.

In a nutshell, it means giving patients and families choice in how they are treated. But giving people greater input into their care can be difficult, especially in these tough financial times.

The King’s Fund, the UK’s top health think tank, debated this problem last week at its annual congress. Its position is something I agree with: that technology is one of the ways that we can make sure patients have choices while also limiting spiralling costs.

This is because the use of new technologies, like mobile care (also known as mobile telecare)and telehealth, can help free up time for healthcare professionals to really listen to an individual patient’s needs, while also giving that same patient more control over the care of their condition. Technology already helps to make our everyday lives more personalised and connected, so it seems a natural extension that it can do the same for our healthcare.

Technology is already helping support many patients to manage their conditions by themselves and in the comfort of their own homes. Telehealth, such as blood glucose monitors and reminder services, allows patients to perform routine health checks without the need for lengthy doctor’s appointments. This not only helps free up time for doctors and patients, but also makes sure that any problems are spotted and addressed as early as possible, before complications occur.

Meanwhile, mobile care is supporting people to remain as active and independent as possible by giving them the security of access to help without being confined to the boundaries of their home or a care home. This is patient centred care in action, helping transform the lives of people with long term health needs.

At O2 Health, our aim is to continue to find ways of using technology to bring personalised care choices to more people. People – patients, families and carers – are at the heart of everything we do and we believe that patient centred care is easier than ever to deliver with technology. As we look towards 2013, perhaps the buzzword will become a reality.

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