Dr. Nick West discusses how the response to COVID-19 has provided a blueprint for a vascular care revolution. He warns that we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to reassess how best to treat those affected by cardiovascular disease, in light of everything we have learned during the pandemic.
It’s difficult to quantify with real accuracy the importance of the patient experience in healthcare. A patient who has had a poor experience securing a diagnosis and referral for even a minor condition, or a less-thanideal therapeutic journey, may have their outlook on a health system wholly altered. In this sense, a single instance of misdiagnosis, of dismissive treatment by a healthcare professional, of being put on a generic rather than tailored treatment plan, can impact not only their opinion of the professionals involved with that particular experience, but also of the system as a whole.
It is important, in this regard, to remember that perception is incredibly important here; whether that misdiagnosis or dismissive treatment was real or perceived, the experience is permanently altered. This could potentially lead to an entrenched mindset and the inevitable loss of faith and discouragement of pursuing care in future, even when symptoms might be more serious or intrusive.
This is why it is so critically important that we ensure a patient’s experience with healthcare systems begins in the best way possible – a fact that is certainly true when it comes to vascular care. Globally, cardiovascular disease remains the numberone health threat, responsible for a quarter of all deaths in the UK alone1 – a figure that is far too high to ignore investing in the best and most streamlined patient journey possible. Reducing cardiovascular mortality and morbidity starts with making vascular patient pathways and the route from screening to diagnosis, to treatment, more transparent, thereby addressing the new demands of today’s diverse patient care landscape and exploring new approaches on the horizon.
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