Digital solutions innovator GE HealthCare has released Reimagining Better Health, a qualitative and quantitative study that amplifies the perspectives and needs of people at the center of healthcare — patients and clinicians.
The study aims to help inform a path forward as stressors such as burnout, workforce attrition and patient backlogs test the resiliency of health systems. Participants were asked to answer questions pertaining to the healthcare system as a whole based on their personal experiences and observations.
The results reveal many of the developments that are propelling the system forward are also a source of challenges that patients and clinicians experience. The study found distrust in AI, low technological interoperability across the healthcare system, workforce burnout, fragmented care collaboration and accessibility to care are some of the pain points today.
“Progress can also bring with it tension. In a specialised field like healthcare, resolving that tension is complex and it starts by listening to those who are at the center of care,” said GE HealthCare President and CEO Peter Arduini. “Reimagining Better Health is a bold reminder of the barriers to overcome, and a call to action to all stakeholders in healthcare to innovate and problem solve with a focus on the needs of patients and clinicians. Together, we can transform these insights into action to build a bridge to the future state– a more human and flexible healthcare system.”
Recognition of promise of AI coupled with low trust
Today, AI technologies in healthcare are designed to improve patient experience and outcomes, automate tasks, and enhance productivity. While a majority of clinicians surveyed believe AI can support clinical decision making (61 per cent), enables faster health interventions (54 per cent) and helps to improve operational efficiency (55 per cent), the study shows distrust and skepticism around AI in medical settings – without reference to specific products– is prevalent among all stakeholders.
Only 42 per cent of clinicians overall indicate AI data can be trusted. In the US this number dips to 26 per cent. Clinicians with more than 16 years of experience are even more skeptical of AI, with only 33 per cent trusting the quality of AI data. Additionally, clinicians believe that while AI can help to reduce care disparities (54 per cent), the technology is also subject to built-in biases (44 per cent).
Low trust in new care delivery models
Patients cite greater flexibility in how, where and when healthcare services are delivered as their top priority for the future, even ahead of technology solutions that enable faster detection of potential health issues; however, the flexibility of distributed care administered beyond the walls of the clinic can create challenges.
Half of clinicians are not very comfortable with delivering clinical care outside the traditional clinical environment (50 per cent). Patients are also apprehensive about new care delivery methods and are not very comfortable with at-home or out-of-clinic testing (62 per cent) without supervision.
While most patients (67 per cent) have a high level of trust in their family doctor, trust levels fall when considering other healthcare professionals. Slightly more than half of patients (52 per cent) lack trust in healthcare workers who are not hospital doctors or nurses, midwives or pharmacists to provide appropriate health advice.
Connectivity in a fragmented system
Perhaps some of this discomfort in new care delivery models can be attributed to low technological interoperability across the healthcare system. Just over half of clinicians say medical technologies seamlessly integrate with each other and are easy to use and intuitive (51 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively).
Workforce is defined by burnout
A staggering 42 per cent of clinicians say that they are actively considering leaving the healthcare industry while 39 per cent do not feel a sense of pride in their profession.
Across the eight countries surveyed, inadequate compensation and poor work-life balance were among the top reasons cited for exiting the workforce. Further, 47 per cent of clinicians said they do not feel fully supported by leadership. Patients are feeling the impact of clinician burnout, with 43 per cent saying they do not feel heard by clinicians and less than half (42 per cent) saying clinicians empathise with their personal situation and how it affects their treatment.
A unified goal
In terms of a vision for what should lie ahead, the GE HealthCare study says 99 per cent of clinicians completely or somewhat agree the definition of the future as one in which: patients and care teams are more intimately linked together in a partnership via technology solutions; patient care and medical treatment will take place both within and outside of traditional clinical environments, such as in patients’ homes; and the healthcare ecosystem is expanded to include a more varied range of healthcare workers, some of which may not be present today.