How personalizing health systems adds value for citizens

EDITOR’S NOTE: SCAN Health is a partner of IMAGINE Citizens. It is dedicated to advancing health systems to achieve the best possible experiences and outcomes for patients through supply chain transformation.

Health systems can become more patient-centred by personalizing their structures, services and care delivery models. These changes enable citizens to be more engaged in decisions about their health and wellness.

Here are 10 steps to speed up the development of personalized health systems.

  1. Reframe the conversation, shifting the focus from the disease to the person. People should not be defined by their diagnosis.
  2. Redefine success in terms of the citizen’s goals. What people really value is their wellness and quality of life. Success should not be defined by the diagnosis of the provider or the funding model of the health system.
  3. Put the person in charge of decisions, not the provider. A personalized system engages individuals and their support systems to make decisions. Doing so enables care strategies to be tailored to fit with the citizen’s personal values, and health and wellness goals.
  4. Shift care from “one size fits all” to “one size fits one.” A shift to a personalized health system aligns with the person’s needs, lifestyle, values and personal health goals.
  5. Stop competing and start collaborating. Care providers often compete for finite resources. In a personalized health system, providers collaborate to find effective processes that achieve value for citizens and they are rewarded for outcomes.
  6. Get connected. Digital tools present an enormous opportunity to connect people directly to their health care team, allow citizens to be active partners in managing their care and create personalized programs of health and wellness.
  7. Give citizens the information they need to make decisions on their own health and wellness.
  8. Learn from industry, and leverage market segmentation strategies. Market segmentation can be used to identify the desires and commonalities of sub-sectors of the population. Programs and services can then be customized to the needs, expectations and values of specific sub-sectors.
  9. Put citizens in charge of defining value for health systems. Collaborate with people on what services are provided, what outcomes the funding models will pay for and what population outcomes are abandoned when they do not achieve value.
  10. Measure what matters. When evaluating health systems, include metrics which reflect value for individuals, communities and populations. This means including metrics that measure health and wellness goals, community health outcomes, and wellness and quality of life.

Health systems need to transform and embrace innovations to meet the shifting citizen demands for personalized health care. Keeping these 10 steps in mind will help health systems move towards a personalized health system. They will provide citizens with an active role in decision making: “nothing about me without me.”

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About the Author

Anne Snowdon, PhD, is a Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Academic Chair of the World Health Innovation Network (WIN), and Scientific Director and CEO of SCAN Health, a Networks of Centres of Excellence International Knowledge Translation Platform. It is located at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business.

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