We look at the increasing importance of Informed Consent as the key driver for delivering a better patient experience and better healthcare overall.

It is a truth universally understood, that if you ask any Director of any UK Hospital as to what drives him/herand their Team to go to work in the morning – it will be “better patient care and outcomes”.

And yet if you ask those same Directors as to the yardsticks that govern his performance – the concept of “a better patient experience” – will be nowhere nowhere near as high on that list.

In a digital age of tick boxes, financial targets, “transformation”, etc you could argue that the provision of healthcare, is a contradiction, and that somewhere, a long time ago, the practical focus on reassuring the patient from the start, plus the subtle mental and wellbeing improvements that this in itself creates – has got lost over the years. We are victims of the buzzwords and where clever tech is often felt to be driving in the driving seat when healthcare requirements should be digitals’ master, not its servant.

Patrick Chapman looks at me intently across the table. Fractional Chief Marketing Officer at EIDO Healthcare, Patrick himself is a contradiction. He is dressed in a pastel-coloured rugby shirt, built as a prop-forward 2nd row, but has never played a game of rugby in his life. I am expecting a slow delivery of answers, but his words are urgent, already well thought, almost invasive. He drinks a glass of water.

“Informed Consent”, he says – “is central to the patient experience, journey and procedure outcome itself . It’s a shared decision-making conversation (a continuum not one-off), and it reassures the patient that they are in good hands throughout, and they know the alternatives, risks and predicted outcomes”.

And yet the birth of EIDO, as a young start-up 20 years ago, could also be described as chance – the insight from one of its clinical founders that “I need to have something to inform the patient”, is similar to so many UK based healthcare start-ups.

This wasn’t and very definitely isn’t a tech company playing at healthcare. Yet the difference between EIDO and so many others, is that EIDO have maintained and extensively that singular focus throughout their journey from UK centric single paper driven solution paper – now with fully digital delivery as an option, and is global in its outreach. They supply a vast range of procedure specific information, all of which created, peer-reviewed and regularly updated by speciality specigic medical professionals. EIDO remains a medical and clinical company, embracing technological delivery, not being driven by it. Content rightly remains King.
And yet – whilst, – as Patrick continues “no patient has ever said they value the integration process” – the fact that EIDO already integrates with most other systems, itself is an increasing benefit with “collaboration” and “interoperability” key NHS tenets.

We continue talking. The discussion has become less fluffy, so to say, more commercial, and we move into the comparison of costs versus value.
Patrick says; “there’s essential importance in a truly informed consent process to the patient, but also to the hospital, with often faster recovery with patients taking advice re their pre and post procedure health and habits.,
There’s is also the upside for the hospital in mitigating and reducing risk of the procedure going wrong. Litigation payouts by hospitals using EIDO content, are some 25% less than those that do not.

The decision by EIDO to be resident at this year’s HETT Conference, in September at Excel London – is part of this growing reach-out, to make EIDO directly to Trusts and hospitals and integrated into technology system providers who’s products cross patient journeys where consent conversations ensue.

You could argue that the global focus on “digitalisatIon” takes EIDO way from its roots.
Patrick does not answer this question directly, but his answer is to the point; “no – we already know the benefits of digitalisation and it is a journey we are embracing – but ‘ content not digitally led is the constant ethos’ and we know that patients appreciate this as despite the pandemic increasing (and speeding up) digital adoption, the majority of hospitals are still far earlier on their journey of digital transformation than people realise. Patient well-being shouldn’t be needlessly complicated and it’s vital we avoid patient disenfranchisement by only offering digital solution many still can’t engage with.”. We run the risk that a digital system step forward could be a step backwords for what should be informed consent best practice.

I sense this is the end of our time together this time. The waitress is hovering and there is only so long you can drink a continual flow of cappuccinos. Patrick is still sipping – but I have a train in 5. I pick up my Notes. “Gotta run” I say.

Author: umnitso

Managing Editor at ProfoMedia, and Senior Partner at The CRT Partnership, a a leading specialist in brokering international alliances and partnerships; a published author in own right - as well as accredited media for major trade associations, including HIMSS, Vitalis, and others.

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