Generation NOW – How Do Health Systems Cope?
Generation Now – The Patient Revolution
As life races forward and humans play catch up with the ever increasing pace of “on demand” satisfaction to life’s queries. If you want an answer now, no problem, Google will satisfy the answer you need and throw alternatives into the mix.
Due to increased accessibility to knowledge, “on demand” has become embedded into the psyche, it is a cultural movement.
So how does an already under pressure NHS or any other health system manage the insatiable appetite for answers now by its customers?
Patient activation, patient engagement and patients agreeing to take on the responsibility of managing their own health is a hot topic in health conversations. Believe it or not this hasn’t always been the case, but the pressure of a tsunami of long-term conditions means that the professionals we all look to for help to resolve our aches and pains haven’t got all the answers.
Looking at the other end of the spectrum what does the patient’s point of view look like? I have some insights my team and I would like to share with you to give you a look into how people satisfy their “on demand” lifestyle.
Now before I start, it is important to highlight that not all patients are “Generation Now” patients. Generation now patients tend to be of working age and are those patients that are willing to believe in self-management, try new ways of managing their condition and generally taking control of their condition. They need little reason or motivation to be patient innovators. They don’t silo themselves as innovators, they just do it because they are looking for solutions themselves to challenges they have managing their conditions.
My team and I run the UK’s Heart Failure Charity the Pumping Marvellous Foundation which was born in a recession and has grown in the “Apple Era” It is a “Generation Now” patient group. In the space we operate in we need to invent, innovate and deliver solutions everyday in different ways to our beneficiaries that keeps pace with their insatiable appetite for “on demand” attention. The time of developing offline, real-world support groups is diminishing.
Many people want to be part of a community where they find commonality, similarity and sustenance in peer-to-peer support, relating to their need. The difference now is they want to access this when they want to, not when the next scheduled meeting is due to take place and answers plated up quickly not having to wait in a queue for the information.
We have developed a powerful, heart-failure-focused, peer-to-peer patients’ platform where people and their carers get lightning fast answers to their problems, not just from one patient but a multitude of patients altruistically volunteering their experiences to help others all within a safe and highly moderated environment. It has been known for patients to just observe and watch the discussions for many months if not years and then suddenly pop up, ask a question, get bombarded with friendly information and retreat to the audience not to be seen until they need help again. The vast majority of patients and carers in our groups do just that, they dip in and dip out as and when they need help or when they are in crisis. The reason why this works is that the individual believes in the community but they are disconnected enough to not feel lectured to but connected enough to ask the question and get their answer.