From health networks designed in the mid-1990s to a move towards patient-centered care, which is a current focus, healthcare professionals have a history of developing coordinated organisations.
The acceleration of the current epidemiological and demographic transition accentuates the need to adapt practices and the healthcare system as a whole.
One study illustrates this requirement: caring for some chronically ill dependent elderly people can involve up to 30 workers:
“In order to evaluate the number of professionals needed to treat and follow-up patients, as well as study the possible recommended methods of coordination, the HCAAM* analysed 26 guides and lists of acts and services written by doctors from the High Health Authority (Haute Autorité de Santé) on long-term illnesses common among elderly people, which are either linked to, or can potentially result in them losing their independence.
This study clearly highlights the large number of healthcare professionals involved in patient treatment and follow-up. Out of the six long-term illnesses studied, as many as 12 to 30 different healthcare professionals and one to four different types of social workers can be involved.”
For instance, this has led to new structures emerging and developing in France which normally work most often on helping the elderly and/or disabled:
Local information and coordination centers (CLIC), care homes for the integration and independence of Alzheimer’s patients (MAIA), regional care homes for the disabled (MDPH), as well as the experimental healthcare scheme: ‘elderly people at risk of losing their independence’ (PAERPA).
These developments have strengthened the relevant workers’ expectations about IT systems.
To ensure efficient cooperation and continuity of healthcare, regardless of who is involved, reports and test results must now be made available and transmitted in almost real time. Furthermore, certain professionals must be able to consult on them on the move via their smartphones instead of their computers.
When young doctors were surveyed, nearly 60% responded that software must be available via any platform, and more than a third wants it to be via smartphones.
The survey also provides indicators about the future evolution of usage. The main suggestions focus on solutions that are not only secure but have the potential to evolve and can be used for group work; such as contributing to improving healthcare coordination, but also to aspects which are still considered relatively basic, such as communicating with patients.
*High council for the future of health insurance