The healthcare system, a rich and complex ecosystem.

Key player for many years, close to patients and healthcare professionals, our Vice President, Olivier Guerin, shares his views on current issues in #eHealth.

Published on 13 December 2021 at 09h23

 All players in the health care system agree that it’s time for change.   It’s time to initiate a system that is more preventive and predictive. It's time for professionals to be equipped and to better prevent new pandemics, time for patients to easily find a specialist in any setting, time to be diagnosed earlier, faster.   The recent pandemic has revealed the flaws in a health care system that was once cutting-edge but is now failing to develop  Yet this system is made up of strong players, experts and dedicated professionals, committed public and private organizations. At the same time, there are powerful levers that, if used in the right way, can support these actors in this transformation.  Among these levers, digital technology. 

Professor Olivier Guérin, member of the Scientific Council of the French Government and Vice-President of Future4care, shares his vision of these ongoing changes and explains how it is possible to initiate this change, thanks to digital technology.  

N°1 - Focus on the patient, actor at the heart of the system

For Olivier Guérin, in healthcare, the patient is the keystone of his or her own care.    In e-health, this is even more important as the patients must not only agree on the devices, since information is always shared, but they must also be actors in their own devices, in their autonomy and in the way they consider their health and share their health data with all the professionals in the sector.  

It is essential that both patients and healthcare professionals are aware that we must move forward in a logic of both co-construction and innovation. This is why all the players in the healthcare system must show patients what is possible today, thanks to digital tools, and support them in their use.  

Thus, it is important to recall why digital technology will improve the patient experience.  This data is the key to a more effective, more personalized treatment, provided that the patient keeps control of his or her own data.   That's why they must realize that this health data belongs to them. The ability to share their data, to understand how  their care is structured with the help of digital tools, will make them more comfortable.   Moreover, healthcare professionals are there to support and advise them. And it's quite easier when digital tools are at their service to simplify this support.  

That being said, there is still an important issue to be addressed, that of making e-health inclusive.   Indeed, the state of health tend to deteriorate, particularly with advancing age, which is a risk factor, especially for chronic diseases. And it's with this target, more vulnerable, that efforts must be made to help. It is essential to intensify these elements of training, adoption, and dissemination to these more vulnerable populations of the tools they need to manage their good health. And it is the mission of health professionals to democratize these devices, to explain, inform and train the patients themselves to use these useful tools.  

N°2 Healthcare professionals must also get involved with digital technology 

A healthcare system without professionals obviously does not exist. In the current system, the family physician is the keystone, since he or she is the integrator of all the health data for the patient.   However, over time, and with the change in public health needs, we realize that it is a succession of health system actors who are effective for the patient.  Thus, the actors of the health system in the broad sense are obviously   the professionals who must act, but who must act in a coordinated manner.   What better way to coordinate than, in particular, digital solutions and products that enable this specific exercise of the patient pathway and its coordination.  However, digital tools are currently considered as gadgets by physicians, and in particular family physicians. Why is this?   Because the French healthcare system was built on the succession of therapeutic acts. This is why we pay for the consultation.  

But, public health needs, have changed, particularly with the chronicization of diseases, so we also need to change the vision that we have, as health professionals, of the service we must provide to patients. And this forces us to work differently, and for that we need different tools, and that's what digital innovation is all about.  

We need to be able to analyze all the data we need, or at least to have the tools that allow us to draw signals from it so that we can be constantly vigilant. This will make it possible to avoid what we call  decompensations of chronic diseases, which are at the origin of the deterioration of the state of health of our fellow citizens, when the treatment is not up to par. Finally, this is a great opportunity, but it changes once again and above all our vision and our practices.  

Digital tools in health care scare or generate anxiety among health professionals, simply because it forces us to work differently.  

However, we have chosen our professions because we want the best for our patients. This conviction is shared by all health professionals.  It is up to us, as professionals, to take up the issue of organization and to say to our supervisors: "Finally, the model in which you are putting us, these stories of one-off consultations paid one after the other, for example, do not suit us. It does not suit us, because it forces us not to do our job properly. And that, for us, is unbearable."  

Basically, when a tool allows us to do better, we end up adopting it. 

N°3 Digital technology to unite private and public players  

The healthcare ecosystem is quite complex, since it includes healthcare professionals, but also, and this is the main point of Future4care, industrialists capable of bringing us new solutions.    Let's not forget other players, such as local authorities. In particular, town halls, departments and regions. They are key players in the field of economic development and particularly in prevention.  There is also a French specificity. These are the patient associations. They are essential players to be integrated into this ecosystem, because they have the extremely crucial knowledge we need. Generating innovation without them is almost impossible.

That being said, we all know that there is an old French opposition between these private and public players.  The presence of a professor and physician as Vice-President of Future4care is not insignificant. It is also to make this link between these two types of actors, whether they are in the care or in the industry.   

The purpose of this linkage is, quite simply, to provide a service to patients. As soon as this objective is shared, there is no longer any boundary between the private and the public sectors, as long as the necessary safeguards are put in place to respect the patient, his or her confidentiality and, lastly, his or her person and autonomy. We all have to be there. This is how we will be able to meet the needs of our fellow citizens and of ourselves, potential future patients.  

However, it is obvious that there is fragmentation, due to this ancestral opposition.  

This fragmentation in the health system, which is so frightening, is internal to what is traditionally called health. But it is also accompanied by two other axes.  As the OMS says, health is medical, psychological and social. The health axis as we understand it is the medical one. But there is also the psycho. We live it COVID, we lived it with mass dramas, like the 2015 attacks on our territory.   

Finally, the social axis. Health is not uncorrelated with our social environment, our integration into society and especially for the most precarious, the most vulnerable among us. It is for them that we need to make the most connections and for whom digital tools are also the most useful.  

This fragmentation is therefore multiple. Together, let's make the bet to do it, in a coordinated way, to prove that we are of good will. Digital tools will help us achieve this, because they are the best levers for defragmentation of the healthcare system, once again, provided that their genesis, this co-design of innovation, is already shared by patients, by healthcare professionals, with the manufacturers who bring us the solutions.   

 What is the role of Future4care?  

Patients are at the heart of the system. We can not innovate without co-designing with them, since they will use these innovations for their own health.  This co-construction is Future4care's DNA. Only when everyone agrees and comes together will we be able to implement these new solutions, which are above all intended for patients and all citizens who want to preserve their health thoughout their lives.   

So, we intend to involve health professionals from the beginning, alongside the patient community, with those who are capable of providing solutions at the center, i.e. entrepreneurs. They are there to bring us their creative intelligence and their ability to find solutions to our questions, to us, health professionals, as well as to our patients' questions.