A few quick insights can be gained by checking out England’s National Health Service, a publicly funded operation. The British Consulate in Boston hosted a session last week featuring NHS Director Tim Kelsey and the UK Consulate General in Boston Susie Kitchens.
A drawing of letters and teaming up to create words was the opening exercise. Our group had “i LORE”……….which we defined as a chance to tell stories on the internet. Stories being the most simple and basic way to transmit information across generations of community memory.
The animated hour long discussion touched on something old and some things new. Old were the Treasury Tags, a 19th Century relic from Her Majesty’s Stationary Office which are still holding together patient files. UK healthcare bought enough tags in 2012 to reach from London to the Hubbard Telescope and back if they were laid end to end. New is the work being done so all patients will have access to all their records in a wiki like structure that they can view and comment upon by mid 2016.
While doctors like their paper. Clinical trials need change. Tim stated that “it is all about money and culture.” Changes need to be made at the same time. “Shared values and urgency” take the lead as Dementia becomes a world wide focal point. Dementia today is where cancer was in the 70’s (the “c” word, hushed behind closed doors). As this disease grows more prevalent, more non-pharmacologocical work needs to be done. Ireland was cited as an example of community based healthcare with remote physician access into homes facilitated by technology, which for the patient, means a home setting rather than a trek into a physicians office. A true sharing of patient experiences and information via both paperNpixels™
Here in the US, Dr. John Zeisel, President and co-founder of the I’m Still Here Foundation and Hearthstone Alzheimer Care Ltd. is the leading proponent of healthcare change when it comes to Alzheimer’s. He wrote the book I’m Still Here, a revolutionary new approach to Alzheimer’s care focusing on keeping patients connected. His excellent exploration created a forum for patients and caregivers living with Alzheimer’s. John was in the audience and indeed, he was the person who asked Tim Kelsey about dementia and non-pharmacologocical interventions, touching off a spirited conversation.