We are happy to share a guest blog from one of our Digital Day partner organizations, Yves Froppier from Gfi Switzerland, addressing one of the Digital Day themes: Health

Patients are becoming more and more actors of their own health, thanks to digital technology, and their relationship with health professionals is evolving, according to Jean-François Penciolelli, Director Public Sector at Gfi Informatique, and Julian Rioche doctoral student.

Economic changes and the arrival of internet have profoundly transformed the health sector. Sharing information has become easier and more accessible to all. Today, it is possible to access medical information online via social platforms and networks, which facilitates interactions between patients and healthcare professionals. Patients use social networks and communities to interact with other patients and explain their illnesses to others. Telemedicine platforms integrated with connected objects are enriching a vast communication system in the health sector. This wealth of information is disrupting healthcare, and patients are becoming real actors in their own health.

New forms of cooperation between patients

Patients are now better involved, and are harnessing new digital tools, like connected objects, that create new ways for patients to collaborate. Through social networks and communities, patients can help each other understand their illnesses and find better treatment. This can have a profound influence on a patient’s behaviour and health. Apps can change people’s behaviours through the ongoing collection of data and real-time recommendations. This can be reinforced through advice from healthcare or wellness professionals. Prevention becomes more natural. Patients seek information to better understand their illness, and determine which treatment to receive thanks to different digital media. Some patients even become experts on their illnesses. This is especially true with chronic illnesses.

A personalised healthcare path

Patients see themselves as unique and demand a personalised treatment plan that takes into consideration their history, lifestyle and habits. One important trend in patient behaviour are the nomadic patients, who require treatment plans that adapts to their situation, with a “ubiquitous” medical record, always available. These nomadic patients favour user experience over technology. They see themselves as “decision-makers”. They want to be informed and have a say in their treatment. They want to follow the evolution of their treatment to make their own diagnosis and take appropriate action. The biggest trend in telemedicine is patients are taking a more active role and are becoming more independent in their treatment journey. If this behaviour becomes more common, the healthcare sector will have to find new ways to provide greater support in times of crisis. We will have to create a framework that goes beyond medical emergencies, and provides ongoing and non-intrusive monitoring.