Patients need information that is often very different from the information that doctors think they need.
Our research into patient groups across the world consistently showed that, what patients felt was crucial information was ignored by clinicians. In fact for some patients groups the biggest gap between what patients needed and what they got was information.
If patients don’t receive what they need to know, they will not be able to be as active in their own care as we need them to be.
Often the clinical explanation is fine but it rarely helps to alleviate the fear and anxiety that comes with a diagnosis.
Information for patients that they can use improves clinical effectiveness, safety and patient experience. It needs to adhere to quality standards, be user-tested, and to be useful it needs to be co-designed and co-produced. Information must also be designed to meet different levels of health literacy.
It is now a basic requirement for organizations to have ways of communicating online and through mobile phone technology. Using clinically accredited apps to support chronic conditions and individual episodes of care, such as maternity care is the next step. To make full use of this, it will be important to improve health literacy and activation – there is some evidence about how to do this.
Over the last two decades many industries have changed their value proposition by developing their customers’ capacity to create value. Healthcare is only just understanding how this might transform its own value proposition.