The Patient Perspective

The patient perspective has not been heard during recent debates on healthcare restructuring this is the unheard voice of the patients. We often assume we know their needs and expectations. But this is not necessarily a failure on our part its simply about the perspective. I posit that we sitting on a tremendous opportunity, workers in the healthcare sector (we) have a strategic advantage. The good fortune that we have is that not only are we employees of healthcare companies (pharmaceutical industry, medical schemes, academia, consultants, etc.) but we are also patients. This is a unique position to be in because we are privy to industry-specific information which we use to make more informed decisions. We are also in a unique position to realign decisions to patient needs and expectations. The only reason I introduce this as a topic for further discussion is because I propose that the only legitimate perspective in healthcare decision-making is the perspective of the patient (societal perspective). A patient incurs costs for transportation to healthcare facilities, care-giver time, and an opportunity cost for spending a day at home due to ill health lost income. All other perspectives are partial analytical approaches that provide weak estimates of the impact of healthcare interventions. A funder's perspective that does not look beyond budgetary impact is illegitimate and should be disband as an inferior analytical approach. The perspective of the government that only includes health-related items on the medium term expenditure framework and medicine tender prices is also a skewed approach to fully understanding the true impact of healthcare interventions. These perspective should be disband in favour of the patient's perspective. The patient's perspective should be considered as the only approach with which to encourage transparency of the true cost of healthcare interventions. The true cost of the impact on a patient should reflect as an integral component of all healthcare decision-making.

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