patient education

The European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI) has trained dozens of patients to engage with companies and decision-makers on medicines development. Now it’s time to think about medtech. I am convinced that the days when experts and clinicians decided what patients want are long gone. Modern healthcare aspires to be patient-centred, while academics, policymakers and industry are increasingly focused on delivering what matters to patients. I have always believed that the best way to find out what patients want is to ask them. Inviting patients into conversations about research priorities, testing medical innovations, and even regulatory and reimbursement, is a win-win. It ensures that innovations answer the needs of patients and make product development more efficient – for example, by enhancing the recruitment and retention of patients in clinical studies. From my point of view, it’s vital that all stakeholders have the skills and knowledge required to engage in the innovation process. Patients need to understand R&D – and other stakeholders should learn how to get the most from their interactions with patients. The Patients’ Academy has played an important part in delivering training courses. Over 150 patients and 2 million users have downloaded the EUPATI Toolbox on Medicines R&D, which features more than 3,500 content items – including articles and PowerPoints, infographics and fact sheets. EUPATI was set up through the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a public-private partnership supported by the European Commission and EFPIA, representing the research-based pharmaceutical sector. We have brought together 30 organisations to fill a gap: by boosting the pool of skilled patients, the Patient Academy helps to meet the growing demand for informed patients through a combination of e-learning courses as well as face to face meetings over a period of 14 months. As you may know, there are major differences in how medical technologies and medicines...
This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? and Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money . *************************************************** To me, modern healthcare should be about improving patient outcomes and offering patients as much choice as possible. All of us are patients at certain times in our lives. Shouldn’t we have greater input into how and where we are treated? When it comes to kidney disease, not all patients have time to consider their options and prepare for treatment. To understand why this is, let me explain a little about the condition. Kidney disease is a major and growing burden in Europe . One in ten Europeans has some form of kidney disease but most don’t know it . However, kidney failure is a ‘silent disease’, often diagnosed in the late stages. This significantly narrows the treatment options available to patients, often leading to worse outcomes. For some, late diagnosis denies them the opportunity to learn about and to discuss home dialysis with their doctors. Clinical guidelines – such as the NICE clinical guidance on peritoneal dialysis –recommend that stage 5 chronic kidney disease patients should be informed of all treatment options so that they can choose the one that best fits their lifestyle. Time to explore treatment options The best treatment for kidney failure is...
By unleashing the power of machine learning, we can better understand behaviour, empower patients to make smarter decisions – and save billions of euros . Unhealthy lifestyles are driving an explosion in chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By choosing to smoke, having an inconsistency in maintaining a healthy diet and opting out of exercising, we place ourselves at risk of ill-health. At the same time, some patients are neglecting to take their medicines as prescribed or are misusing antibiotics – with devastating consequences. Around twenty–one percent (21%) of US healthcare costs are attributable to the influence of human behaviour. For example, poor medication adherence alone costs the US more than $100 billion annually. Harvard and the World Economic Forum have estimated that non-communicable diseases result in economic losses for developing economies equivalent to four to five percent (4-5%) of their GDP per annum. A patient-centric approach to behaviour change promises not only to improve clinical outcomes, but to address the rising demand for health services. Better education and awareness can help individuals to make smarter choices. There are a range of interventions available, but the challenge is providing the right patient with the right behaviour change intervention at the right time. If We Can Predict, We Can Prevent Now we have new tools at our disposal, informed by research from psychology and behavioural economics, and powered by technological advances. As someone with a keen interest in behaviour change and the predictive power of analytics, I believe machine learning can help to make our health systems more sustainable. Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows us to evaluate how an individual makes lifestyle decisions and tailor behaviour change programmes to suit their needs. When considering an example of poor medication adherence, if we are aware of who is at risk and...
Over the past 20 years, much has been written about hospital–industry partnerships (also known as Public–Private Partnerships or PPPs). Though they have as many champions as detractors, and there are lessons to be learned, in today’s increasingly strained healthcare systems, their potential is undeniable. Despite the importance and value of these partnerships, through our own newly-launched CareAdvantage approach and other value-based offerings, the challenge of making this relatively new mechanism work well in an already complex sector is considerable. This intricacy is what led us to partner with Hospital Healthcare Europe (HHE) on the delivery of an independent report for 2018, “Perspectives on Hospital and Industry Partnerships: The Aim of Improving Outcomes, Increasing Patient Satisfaction and Reducing Costs.” We hoped that, by providing us with direct insights from healthcare leaders and stakeholders across EMEA, the report would allow us to better understand the concerns and opportunities that are shaping today’s awareness of these partnerships. I’m pleased to say that it has done just that. Much of the study’s findings deserve close consideration but I would like to highlight three of the most well-reported insights that, to me, have resonated most clearly. A shift in perceptions Firstly, hospital–industry partnerships are increasingly seen as “a welcome addition to hospital stakeholders and healthcare system decision makers’ armamentarium. ” There is still some wariness and hesitation in working with third parties – the private sector must be able to convince healthcare providers that patient outcomes are as important tous as they are to them – but “fresh eyes that challenge current systems…are needed.” Although they are not yet fully embraced across the sector, this shift towards viewing hospital–industry partnerships as a welcome step forward is very promising. Complementary capabilities Another valuable indication from the report is that there is now a true understanding that...
The treatment options for people with vision problems have changed dramatically over the past decade. New technologies have improved outcomes, reduced patient discomfort and brought an unprecedented level of choice for patients. We spoke with Dr Kaweh Schayan-Araghi, a consultant ophthalmologist at Artemis Klinik in Germany, about the progress he has witnessed and what the future may hold. How have treatment options changed for your patients? Over last ten years or so, the treatments available have improved for people with myopia (short-sightedness), astigmatism (defect in the eye resulting in distorted images), and cataract (a clouding of the lens). Looking back, the options for patients with astigmatism were especially few for those with low or moderate astigmatism – interocular lenses were really only used for people with much higher astigmatism and it was quite difficult to get a precise correction. Limbal relaxation incision was also used to correct astigmatism. This involves cutting into the cornea but, to be frank, the outcome was quite unpredictable and uncomfortable for patients. Most endured itching, rubbing and a feeling that there was something in their eye for three or four weeks. What is available today? The most dramatic change has been the evolution from implanting just clear lenses to implanting a refractive lens which actually corrects vision: we are now addressing cataracts and correcting vision in a single surgery. This would previously have required two separate operations. So, in a lot of cases we are not just clearing the cataract, the patient could be rid of glasses or have reduced dependency on glasses for the first time in decades. What kind of attitudinal shift have you seen in ophthalmology? In the past, the goal of surgery was to improve ‘best corrected vision’. This implies that patients continue to wear glasses. Today, surgeons want to achieve...
High-tech innovation and advanced surgical techniques have transformed the field of ophthalmology, with new treatment options making surgery faster and more accurate. We speak to Professor Rudy Nuijts, a leader in the field of cataract surgery, about the radical changes he has seen and what the future may hold. How has cataract care changed since you began working as an ophthalmic surgeon ? I was trained in extracapsular surgery which involved making incisions of at least 6mm to remove the patient’s lens. In the early 1990s, ophthalmologists in the Netherlands started to embrace phacoemulsification – a new alternative where the lens is broken into tiny fragments using ultrasound energy before being removed. That changed everything. How did these advances help patients? The recovery process was much faster and there was less post-operative astigmatism . Since then, technology has improved further: the machinery we use results in a more stable anterior chamber, with less risk of posterior capsule rupture and there is much more choice and versatility in the range of lenses available for implantation. Are there other technological advances that have improved outcomes for patients? The introduction of multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) has meant patients can be spectacle-independent after cataract surgery. Instead of just fixing the cloudy vision caused by their cataract, patients can now have a refractive lens implanted which improves their vision. These include toric IOLs which allow us to correct astigmatism and make patients spectacle independent for distance. Another big leap forward has been multifocal lenses. Most surgeons in Europe have, over the last year or two, moved from bifocal to trifocal lenses. This has big advantages for patients. For example, with multifocal trifocal lenses they can read at intermediate distances – for iPads or reading a computer screen, this is a distinct advantage. Bifocal lenses were...