The PATH team recently launched the Aging Well Website with the help of QoC, a technology start-up firm that is one of PATH’s 12 partners. Here, Chancellor Crawford of QoC shares his thoughts about working with PATH and harnessing the power of technology to give patients a stronger role in their own healthcare.
Q1: What’s your company’s role in PATH?
QoC’s role in PATH centres around IT strategy – including the use of mobile tablet technology to empower patients and connect providers. The tablets will be integrated into the upcoming pilot stage. (Hear an audio clip from PATH Project Manager Wendy Kolodziejcak on roll-out of PATH pilot phase.)
The mobile technology is a cornerstone piece in the PATH “patient connected care” design. One goal is to allow seniors to have important and relevant health information at hand when they need it (e.g. transitions, admissions, emergency).
And we’re excited because, for the first time, patients will have the ability to provide feedback on their experiences in real time. This allows us to understand in a much more immediate way where touch points are working well and where there are opportunities to improve the patient experience.
Q2: Tell us about the Aging Well Website. How will it help seniors?
The Aging Well planning tool is, we hope, the first in a series of planning tools that patients can use to think proactively about their own health and well-being. It is designed to provide context and information which will lead to conversations with family and friends about wishes that are important to seniors. The ability to create, manage and share a personal Aging Well plan with family, caregivers and providers helps to build a better care relationship.
Q3: What did patients and caregivers tell you was important to them in developing these tools?
PATH’s partnership with patients/caregivers has really helped us to understand what it means to be a patient within the system, what works, what doesn’t, what is frustrating, and what is missing. It really has been a game changer in terms of patient-centred design, solutions designed by patients for patients.
Coming out of the experience-based co-design sessions, we found five major themes that consistently guided us:
1. treat people as individuals, not chart numbers.
2. eliminate the need for patients to repeat information over and over.
3. provide tools to allow patients to track and journal their own health concerns, conditions, making it easier to provide useful care insights for physicians.
4. offer “one spot for all of my care information” – that’s what people want.
5. facilitate easier sharing of information with providers; improved communication.
Q4: What are the next steps in developing the Aging Well Website?
The website, as it is today, is just a sneak peek into what will become a centralized place for a wide range of patient-centred tools and capabilities for the entire Northumberland area. We’re really excited about the upcoming pilot phase – a group of patients will provide feedback on a wide range of features, including connecting with providers and caregivers via messaging, monitoring and personal health records. This is where the connected care pieces will come into play.
It’s these shifts in technology and tools that will start to enable and empower patients to more easily participate in their own care.
Q5: What are your hopes for PATH?
PATH offers new service delivery models. It’s interesting when you look at initiatives like Ontario’s Health Links program, the ideal of shifting care to the community, preventing readmissions; these are the scenarios we’re implementing today in the Northumberland community. I think we have a unique opportunity to accelerate provincial goals based on the models we’re creating here today.