Patients hold the key to improving healthcare and lowering costs, finds KPMG International report

- Greater patient engagement is essential to more cost-effective healthcare

- Shifting focus from 'sick-care' to broader health and wellbeing an imperative

- Report offers nine-part framework for realizing greater healthcare value

Jul 23, 2014, 00:01 ET from KPMG International

NEW YORK, July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients and their caregivers should be much more involved in treatment choices, health planning and research, according to a new report from KPMG International.

The report, What Works: Creating new value with patients, caregivers and communities, examines how existing models of care fail to engage patients sufficiently, which can result in over-diagnosis, over-treatment, and increased costs. 

The report goes beyond simply making the case for change and explores the different ways this shift towards a far more patient-centered approach can practically be achieved. From involving patients in service design, to providing them with better and more relevant information, the report sets out a practical nine-part framework to help healthcare organisations realize the value that can be achieved through the roles of patients, caregivers and communities.

"Too often, the delivery of healthcare is structured more according to organizational structures and boundaries than the needs of the patient. Supporting patients and their caregivers in becoming active participants in their own care will not only lead to better outcomes that are more relevant to the patient, it also has the potential to create far more cost-effective models of care," says Dr. Mark Britnell, chairman of KPMG's Global health practice. "The benefit of this is by no means marginal. Independent analysis suggests that the most activated patients cost between 8% and 21% less.1"

The report observes that for people with long-term conditions, only a small proportion of their time is spent with clinicians; the vast majority of care is provided by themselves, their caregivers, and families.  As a result, 'activated' patients – those with the skills, ability and willingness to manage their own health and healthcare – can realize better health outcomes at lower costs.

"Healthcare organizations need to build, buy, or align to redesign the system with the necessary capabilities to focus on the patient first, and foremost" states Ed Giniat, KPMG National Sector leader for Healthcare and Life Sciences.

Through coaching and incentives, healthcare professionals can support self-diagnosis and condition management, utilizing communications technology and resources such as pharmacists and community workers.

Increasing use of patient communities

Patients are also a huge, untapped source of data about the real-world nature of disease that could be priceless for researchers, life sciences companies, purchasers and providers.

Social media is creating new patient communities that are an under-utilized resource. New applications such as 'iWantGreatCare' in the UK are being used by patients to share information and experiences, with over 80,000 reviews being added every month.  This is vital information that clinicians and managers alike could be using to help create higher-quality care at better value.

First in a series of reports looking to change the healthcare sector's mindset globally

This report is the first in a series to be launched by KPMG International looking at the crucial changes in mindset and capability that health systems and healthcare organisations around the world need to deliver. The reports in the What Works series will go beyond simply making the case for change and will look practically at how organizations can make these transformational changes a reality.

Dr. Britnell concludes: "Now is the time to move on from simply supporting the ideology of patient-driven care, to finding the practical solutions that will allow patients themselves to be at the heart of creating better health outcomes more cost-effectively."

For further information, contact:

William Borden
Tel:  (201) 505-6351

Kent Miller, Global Communications
KPMG International
Tel: (201) 307-8632 (office)
      (908) 313-5037 (mobile)

About the report
What Works: Creating new value with patients, caregivers and communities is a new report from KPMG's Global Healthcare Practice, arguing that the sector has to become more patient-centered and shift its focus from therapies to broader health and wellbeing. The report goes further than simply making the case for more patient-centered care and outlines a practical framework that gives health systems and providers insight into how they go about achieving this. Featuring a number of insightful real-life examples from around the world, the report suggests that greater engagement with patients, families and communities can increase self-management, improve value, safety and quality and significantly reduce costs.

About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 155 countries and have more than 155,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

1 Hibbard J H, Greene J, Overton V (2013) 'Patients with lower activation associated with higher costs; delivery systems should know their patients' "scores".' Health Affairs, 32, no (2013): 216-22

SOURCE KPMG International