Patients in the United Kingdom want a seat in their healthcare plane’s cockpit, and at the flight control centre. They want closer health management collaboration with clinicians—and this growing demand is driving a need for scalable solutions that provide a more seamless co-designed experience for patients and clinicians.

This trend seems inexorable to me. The advent of wearables, virtual care and AI-enabled care assistants will gradually move a larger proportion of the care load away from traditional settings—closer to patients’ everyday lives. Accenture’s 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health confirms the view. The climate is perfect to re-imagine services with patients’ input—to reduce complex care navigation required of patients and carers while reducing the pressure on some of our most challenged health services.

  • Use of remote consultations has increased from 12 percent (2016) to 16 percent (2018).
  • Use of health apps has increased from 33 percent (2016) to 48 percent (2018).
  • Use of virtual healthcare services has increased from 21 percent (2016) to 25 percent (2018).

Through relatively simple solutions, we can make a fundamental difference to how patients access the right service, at the right time. So, given this reality, what are the key considerations moving forward?

First, health services need to be co-designed with patients, administrators and clinicians, as was recently done on a UK project to envision the care experience for virtual consultations. Second, rapid prototyping helps the envisioning process, while academic research informs the approach and helps us rigorously evaluate digital innovations. Third, the technology needs to be scalable and “just work” first time, every time.

Fortunately, we don’t need to start from scratch. In the case of our Virtual Consultations Project, rapid prototyping enabled us to look at the “art of the possible” with existing national capabilities. For example, leveraging Skype for Business Open APIs for secure communications, directory of service content and the GP Connect APIs to support appointments management. The ecosystem of microservices enables us to build once, stitch technology together and iteratively deliver at pace.

I, for one, am enthused about the opportunities to provide more collaborative experiences for our patients and services users. Both in the design of services and in the provision of digitally-enabled collaborative care experiences. If you have any thoughts, feel free to get in touch.

Chris Gibbons

Senior Manager – Health & Public Service, Innovation

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