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Question Time 1: Meet our Chief Medical Officer (CMO)- Jonathan Serjeant – under the spot light

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Question Time

We have put our Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Jonathan Serjeant, under the spot light in this month’s Question Time.

The average GP has to make around 80-100 individual patient decisions a day

Q. What is your connection within healthcare and why do you like what you do?

Healthcare is all around us every day from the moment we wake up to the important sleep we might get. We are faced with decisions every day that affect our behaviour and have an impact on the world around us and our overall wellbeing.

The world is a complex place and depending on your circumstances, education, family and friends, lifestyle, and wealth making choices to be healthy is tricky, but even harder if you are living in poverty with poor mental health. Being disadvantaged relative to others means healthcare services are more distant, harder to access, sometimes in the wrong language.  I am driven to try and improve people’s experience of health care, make it more personal, and understandable, and provide some clarity for people when in crisis. 

As a General practitioner I have the privilege to be invited into people’s homes at a moment in need. If I can spend all of my time listening and connecting with a persons and their world view, then we have a chance to make a difference to what matters to them. I have spent the last 20yrs as a leader of companies that provide solutions to maximise this critical moment of interaction. Healthcare can be transformative for people’s lives, and it can be dangerous if misunderstood, complex in its delivery or hard to access.

I am driven to improve the quality and safety of what Doctors and clinician have to offer, and all the solutions we have developed over the years start from asking myself “Am I doing the best job I can, to respond to what’s matters to one person at a point in time, and if not then  we need to change it.”

Q. How has digital technology improved your day to day workload within Healthcare?

To be 100% present in the consultation with patients, to truly listen to someone’ story and concern, requires an absence of distraction. Technology has the potential to make this possible, and to make it more difficult to focus. What has changed over the past 20yrs of being a GP is the amount of information available to us to piece together with the patient story.

The computer opens the window to endless applications that claim to improve people’s lives at the detriment of the clinical day. The perfect application would have  impact on the quadruple aim : Improved Patient Experience, Improves Health Outcomes, Improved Clinician Workload, Reduced Health system Cost.  This utopic tech is hard to develop, yet alone implement across the globe, however those that succeed have almost always been developed ground up and evolved with the patient need right at the centre.

The average GP has to make around 80-100 individual patient decisions a day, however over the past decade the GP team has evolved, and we have a number of clinicians and administrator to support making those decisions. 

Technology that has supported the movement of decision making away from the GP has made the most difference to my daily life.  Tech that trains and supports other team members such as Nurses, Pharmacist, Counsellors and administrators to safely and effectively manage patients means I can use my skills with more complex patient presentations.

Florence is in a fantastic position to respond to the emerging shift in how healthcare advice and support is accessed.

Q. How do you see the future of healthcare and how do you see Florence playing her part?

It is very difficult to keep up with the explosion of technology in the Healthcare space.

Prior to COVID huge investment and hope has been driven into Artificial intelligence and machine learning, but COVID has exposed some fundamental basics that we have missed.

There are large groups of people who cannot access, or understand healthcare support. People at home live with their disease every minutes of the day, they access health care for a very small moment in time.  People have incredible access to information and rely on friends and family to make sense of their situation, lots of people are on their own. 

Vast amounts of information on the internet is either out of date, biased, and unstructured.  Making personal sense of this is a mine field, and the more severe your illness, the more complex it gets. People need the right information that is relevant to them, they need simple processes to follow back to health, all of this needs to be in the right language, accessible to all people  e.g. who cannot read or see. 

Digital inclusion is fundamental , and all technology companies need to be thinking how their application/platform impacts health inequalities, and at a minimum does not widen them, and better still closes the gap. 

Florence is in a fantastic position to respond to the emerging shift in how healthcare advice and support is accessed. 

Florence is trusted, robust and evidence based, its deployable at scale across a population, and can be bespoke to the individual.

Florence makes you feel cared for because it is personal, and the structured algorithms give a sense of being held. this creates engagement and increases the educational base for people to make better decisions about their health.

As Florence evolves into an intelligent, machine learning piece of technology we will learn what activates positive health behaviours in lifestyle, medication compliance, and pathway adherence, all essential pieces of the jigsaw to improving everyone’s health.

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