The terms “patient centric”, “personalised care” and “holistic health” seem to be the new focus area. Everyone wants to lay an emphasis on the patient and is squeezing these words onto every banner, slogan and marketing collateral. While I am personally encouraged by the intention I see around, I find myself often seeking for the action or implementation thereafter.
Might I add, when my mother was battling cancer, we didn’t even know what these terms meant. To me “holistic” was some strange dialect for alternative ways of therapy, to today, where I use it incessantly in dialogue. The difference is that the career path I chose was and is built on the fundamentals of holistic care, integrating the various elements of external and internal factors that will eventually lead to overall wellbeing.
Hence, it became the very foundation of my life and what I set out to build. While people assure me that I am in the right space at the right time, contrary to popular belief, I am starting to witness a major discrepancy in the way people view the term, to what is being fuelled behind the scenes. If we want to really talk holistic, personalised care, patient centricity and quality of life then let’s speak the language in depth. Let’s understand what a patient really needs and wants, the nuances that lie in between and offer care that will fulfil this and beyond. This requires attention to detail like no other.
I have lived with a cancer patient for over 6 years and worked up close and personal with hundreds more and what I have come to know more than anything else, is that personalised care lies in physical human interaction. As much as we would all like to make this an “app”, reach out to a larger market, build for “scale” (my favourite word!), we need to first recognise what really goes into personalised care. In my opinion, it’s focusing on the patient, being present and connecting on a physical human level, which as of now will not be replaced by a software. Many might disagree, especially at a time where everything and I mean everything is driven by technology. But not this. Not now.
Having said that, we as a company are enabled by technology. We use technology in a way that enhances the efficiency, efficacy and quality of care, but not replaces human interaction. Unfortunately this doesn’t make us the golden child of start-ups, VC funding, scalability and honestly it doesn’t matter. What matters is the delivery and outcome of what we’re trying to accomplish, which could be one patient at a time, one step at a time. We know in the core of our being that our patients need time, they need touch, feeling, energy and connection which encourages and enhances all aspects of life. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
I am asked time and again why we haven’t evolved into a health tech company. This is exactly why. We are a health service company enabled by technology and the day that we believe technology will replace human interaction by providing the same level of compassion, empathy and connection to a patient, or more, that’s the day we’ll speak tech. But not today.