In the past, our health systems were established primarily to save lives. Emphasis was on correct clinical procedure for efficient and effective intervention, there was little room for patient input and personalised healthcare. However, as our society has aged, needs have changed.
Often, older patients much less clear prognosis and may have preferences for how they balance their time between receiving healthcare and living their lives. Some may wish to decide to waive or delay treatment to achieve other goals such as attending a family occasion or spending time with friends. This is difficult for clinicians who have been trained to follow clear clinical pathways and who are used to having their opinion deferred to by patients.
If we want to deliver policies of greater personalised healthcare and medicine, we need to recognise not only the different needs and susceptibilities of individuals, but their wishes and aspirations also. This is the challenge that EIT Health’s Narratives project, in which the Newcastle University and its National Innovation Centre for Ageing, as a partner, seeks to address.
A patient voice for personalised healthcare
Patient-centred care training has often lacked a patient voice. Patient narratives are beginning to be used in health training but seem to draw little on learning theories from other fields.
As part of its campus pillar, EIT Health has funded a project led from the University of Barcelona, Spain, to explore how narratives may be used to improve understanding of the need for patient consultation, the willingness of patients to express their needs, and the preparedness of clinicians to listen and to adapt their treatment accordingly. Newcastle University’s Research Centre for Learning and Teaching is leading efforts to create a toolkit to support training developers in healthcare environments to make better use of the stories and narratives of patient experiences available to them.
At the same time, the VOICE (Valuing Our Intellectual Capital & Experience) initiative at the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, along with several other partners, is collecting a variety of narratives related to patient’s and citizen’s experiences of healthcare. Collected from face to face workshops, interviews and submissions on the VOICE platform. These stories are being analysed, collated and packaged to:
- contribute to the toolkit;
- to support existing teaching amongst the partners; and
- to better understand the needs and aspirations for the health of individuals, throughout the life-course.
If you would like to know more about this project, please contact the author.
EIT Health is Europe’s leading innovation collaboration in healthy living and active ageing, accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation. With over 140 high quality partners working to enable an exchange between those who demand health innovation and the innovators who supply it.
The UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing brings together partners from across the UK and further afield to innovate in ageing for the social and economic benefit of the UK.
Graham Armitage is the Operations Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, a Director of the EIT Health UK Ireland, and a member of the EIT Health strategic education board.