How to tailor digital platform initiatives to serve French health priorities

by Cécile Mico

With the prevalence of chronic diseases, population health management is a major concern across all western countries. Payers and providers seek to improve care, enhance outcomes and prevention strategies and reduce costs. In many parts of the world, this has led to the development of solutions aimed at collecting and aggregating data across fragmented health systems and analyzing that data to support care decision-making.

France, however, has not adopted a global population health management approach in the same way that the United States and the United Kingdom have, due to compensation models based on factors other than health outcomes, fragmented data and minimal use of analytics. Additionally, some underlying cultural and organizational reasons inhibit the adoption of such approaches. These include stakeholders with different objectives and responsibilities, different payment models between private and public stakeholders and different interests between professionals delivering care and those responsible for the performance of the global healthcare system.

Perhaps most important in France, care delivery is based on the face-to-face interaction between doctor and patient, and the population approach can raise suspicions of a focus on cost over the quality of care.

The need for a digital platform is just as powerful across the French healthcare ecosystem as any other, but an implementation strategy needs to adapt to the priorities of the stakeholders and not follow a one-size-fits-all approach.

How digital platforms can meet the needs of healthcare professionals in France and elsewhere will be explored during Paris Healthcare Week, which runs from May 29 to 31.

Focus on care coordination

Rather than population health, the priority among French healthcare stakeholders is care coordination and improving the collaboration and communication between healthcare professionals.

The objective of physicians and other healthcare professionals is to deliver quality care to their patients. But to do that, they need information about their patients, such as reports, lab results, imaging and so on. As I’ve noted in a previous blog, fragmented IT systems and data silos prevent true cross-disciplinary services development, which means that valuable records remain underutilized in the databases in which they have been captured.

When looking to leverage digital platforms, the healthcare professional’s objective is to have easy access to that information, rather than spend time searching for it. A powerful digital platform alleviates that challenge by aggregating data and enabling access from a single point. For example, digital platforms can keep primary care providers up-to-date on their patient’s health, regardless of where that patient is being treated. Health information exchanges allow providers to securely track and share a patient’s complete medical history, which helps to coordinate patient care.

That’s not to say that there aren’t opportunities to achieve better population health outcomes in the broader French healthcare ecosystem. Indeed, improving the way data flows into a patient’s overall healthcare record and enabling better coordination and communication between various parts of the healthcare system will inevitably lead to population health management.

But for a market such as France, attempting to push a population health management agenda will fail to resonate and may result in resistance from stakeholders to any digital initiative.

Cécile Mico is head of business development for DXC Healthcare in France. She has more than 20 years experience in health information systems. Cécile is responsible for executing the healthcare go-to-market strategy in the French market, and leading the development and commercialization of DXC’s global portfolio of offerings.

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