In its States of Mind Health Report, Allianz Partners recognises the challenges that health systems are facing and what changes in mindset are required to tackle the wide-ranging and systemic challenges of today.
After drawing on insights from industry experts and Allianz Partners’ own public opinion data, the report highlights three mindset changes:
- Refocusing on prevention rather than cure
- Empowering more people on health
- Unlocking the true potential of digital health.
To reduce the burden on health systems now and in the future, the report encourages increasing public awareness and engagement with chronic or non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It is increasingly important due to the ageing global population: as people live longer with chronic disease, the burden from NCDs will increase significantly.
Additionally, the urgent need to focus on preventative measure is highlighted in the report. Changes in diet and reducing smoking and alcohol consumption reduce the risk of NCDs. It argues that greater patient empowerment is required to improve patient experience and encourage behavioural change. But there are worrying signs in Allianz Partners’ survey data: only 46 per cent of those surveyed across all demographics said they want to take a more active role in their own healthcare post-pandemic.
To improve patient proactivity, health providers must better understand the barriers facing individuals and try ‘meeting patients where they are’, for example in local communities or family groups.
Dr Umbereen Nehal, Paediatrician and current MIT Sloan Fellows MBA candidate, said: There’s a real risk that healthcare professionals and health systems assume someone lacks personal responsibility if their engagement in health is perceived as unscientific – for example, if they’re following health practices from a non-European culture.
“Our task is to engage and connect with people in a way that is respectful and builds trust. Dismissing people as disinterested or irresponsible is deeply counter-productive.”
Modernisation of medicine
Finally, health systems must continue using technology and engage with the evolution of digital health. Convenience isn’t the only benefit of digitisation though, the report highlights the need to focus on the unique potential of health tech in areas like real-time data collection – and the major barriers to adoption, such as disparity of access.
Recent years have seen a sharp increase in the use and focus on digital health services among sections of the population. Allianz Partners’ data reveals a 26-point rise in teleconsultation usage over the last two years among young families. But there remains a stark digital divide across generations. Only 39 per cent of those aged over 65 are using or would consider using medical telemonitoring in some form according to Allianz data. That’s in contrast to 66 per cent of young families.
Paula Covey, Chief Marketing Officer for Health at Allianz Partners, concluded: “We need to deepen our understanding of the issues and potential solutions to the slow-motion health crisis that’s unfolding – empowering patients to take greater responsibility for their health and by making better use of the new technology now available.”