What’s the point of the patient voice if Tech isn’t listening?

Is patient centricity just a fad?

That’s the unlikely question I asked myself during a digital health event at the House of Commons recently. The people raising their hands during the Q&A session certainly didn’t seem that focussed on it, their questions being unashamedly tech-heavy and geared more towards what should be delivered to patients in the future, rather than why it should be delivered.

I watched and listened intently, nodding and agreeing to each and every point that was raised: AI, machine learning and pattern matching, social media, universal platform development – all very interesting most definitely, but not a single person asked about patient centricity or NHS Digital’s perspective on the subject.

After an hour of waiting patiently, it was finally my turn to ask a question. “What is NHS Digital’s opinion on patient centricity and the value in integrating a patient-centric design objective into their digital strategy?”

An interesting if florid response came my way, but it wasn’t the answer I was expecting or hoping for. Patient centricity just didn’t appear to be a priority for anyone.

Earlier this year, NHS England released a new digital roadmap, setting out its national objectives and timelines for the deployment of key national digital services and platforms, including the delivery of a new NHS website and mobile app.

One of the key aspects of this roadmap is the build of an open platform that aims to make it easier for digital developers to integrate their own tech, allowing for a single, connected NHS digital service.

Now there’s no argument that the objective is a lofty one, much needed as it is. The NHS wants to realise better patient outcomes and recognises the important role technology will play in achieving that. But without a patient-centric approach, one that is heralded by NHS Digital and communicated clearly to its technology developers, how successful will this roadmap really be?

Patient centricity is all about putting the patient first; about working in partnership with a diverse range of patients and considering patient-centred goals, with the aim to empower patients to be actively involved in their care. Patient-centred technology can deliver just that, putting the patient at the centre of their own digital experience to ultimately improve outcomes. Without it, we’re merely adding to the ever-expanding list of health apps that are likely never to be download or, at best, discarded soon after first use.

At Frontera Group, we champion the patient voice and ensure it’s central to everything we do. We believe that immersing our clients into the world of the patient is the only way to achieve better results, both for them and for the patient.

Patient centricity isn’t a fad – it’s a vital need.


To find out more about our approach, why not get in touch?


Stuart Banks, Director of Stikke