Ochre Health champion’s innovation through new patient empowered POD that enhances GP consultations

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Innovation is the force behind success, and every industry can benefit from technological advancement – the health and medical sector is no different. Recently, Ochre Health have supported an innovative new patient empowered POD project that could dramatically improve the quality of GP consultations.
As most doctors and healthcare professionals can attest to, the lack of comprehensive databases and incomplete patient profiles are an obstacle to quality consultations. Getting bogged down in the administrative tasks of collecting this valuable patient data can also take time away from the meaningful work of improving patients health and overall wellbeing. In an attempt to address these issues, Dr Paresh Dawda, GP and the Ochre Health ACT Regional Medical Director, is the Chief Investigator in an ingenious project that responds to how patients and modern-day consumers may interact with a doctor’s appointment.
Drawing on his training in the UK and his work designing and delivering patient improvement programmes at the NHS, Dr Dawda furthered his passion of quality health systems improvement by working with an academic team to develop a patient empowered POD that gives the patient an opportunity to enter their own data in a safe, private, welcoming environment.

Introducing the POD
A collaborative effort between Dr Dawda and a team of designers and researchers led to the creation of an elegant, inviting ‘POD’ that can be placed inside clinics for patients to step into and provide important data in a user-friendly manner.
The POD weighs the patient and measures their height, feeding this often neglected data into a report card. Next, the patient begins the “core” self-assessment, which asks important lifestyle questions regarding their alcohol consumption, smoking behaviour and physical activity. The privacy of the POD is likely to make it easier for certain patients to honestly disclose such information, as it can be difficult or awkward for some people to truthfully reveal such personal information to their doctor. This data is vital for providing an accurate and helpful diagnosis.

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Since it only takes a few short minutes to feed this data into the POD, patients can proceed to their consultation with a report card in hand and a greater sense of control and understanding over their health after completing the self-assessments. A key benefit is that there are various additional reviews the patient can complete on their next visit.
“This ensures a longitudinal data collection, granting patients an element of choice on which self-assessments to complete ranging from diabetes risks to more specific health concerns,” explains Dr Dawda. “They can complete many of these in installments, building up a comprehensive database of their own health for their GP to consult.”

There are also wider social health benefits from the POD.
“This data will also prove to be very useful for the researchers at the University of Canberra, who will analyse lifestyle and health trends from the data to identify which populations are most at risk,” explains Dr Dawda, who also has honorary academic affiliations with ANU and the University of Canberra.

We can then use this data to take a more proactive approach to population health management, reaching out to smokers or those at risk of chronic diseases from their weight to show them the areas of risk and develop strategies to minimise these with patients.

There will also be significant benefits for doctors and healthcare professionals. The POD helps to start a conversation around lifestyle factors without having to go through the data collection step. Patients themselves start to think about important matters after inputting data, ensuring the consultation starts at a further point in the process. Doctors can talk and engage in next steps or actions in improving health, enhancing the quality of consultation and saving precious time.

Ochre Health’s contribution to progress with the POD
Ochre Health’s values of improving healthcare outcomes in our community lead us to support this project and provide our Bruce Clinic facilities in Canberra as a venue to test the POD.
“Ochre’s contribution to whole testing was actually critical and central to the whole idea and concept,” says Dr Dawda.
“Without Ochre’s willingness, openness and desire to be involved and think outside the box, the project would not have gotten off the ground,” he concluded.

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