Patient advocacy at Eucalyptus

How advocacy for our patients forms our approach to digital health
Written by
Silvio Cohilj

Since its widespread adoption, the traditional healthcare system has largely been designed for the convenience of practitioners, not patients. With GP wait times increasing in recent years, [1] along with the destabilising impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that patients are growing dissatisfied with our healthcare systems [2] — and they should be. Chronic condition groups, including obesity and type-2 diabetes, are continuing to trend upward, putting patients’ future health at risk. Clearly, it’s time for the healthcare system to meet people where they are and design patient-first experiences. 

At Eucalyptus, we’re working to transform the patient experience through a blend of empathy, education, and industry-leading digital platforms. This commitment goes beyond providing patients with a health service; it extends to empowering patients to take control of their health journey. Our patients come to us with varied experiences of the healthcare system and even more varied reasons for seeking out our model of care. Whether they have felt unheard in the past, carry fears or anxieties or are simply motivated to find a health platform that works for them, we have a responsibility to empower them and educate them in a stigma-free, accessible environment, equipping them with the knowledge to make positive decisions for their health. 

What does the patient experience look like at Eucalyptus? 

Navigating the healthcare system can be overwhelming, filled with jargon, uncertainty and a sense of detachment. At Euc, we’ve set out to revolutionise this experience, placing the patient at the centre of our approach. From the moment a patient walks through our digital doors, they are supported by our rigorous safety protocols, clinical governance framework, personalised care plans and multidisciplinary support teams. We lead with empathy, creating an atmosphere where individuals feel heard, understood, and supported in their healthcare journey.

Personalised care plans 

No matter the condition we are managing, we know that one size does not fit all. We take pride in crafting personalised care plans, tailored to each patient’s unique needs and taking their previous health history into account. This way, we ensure that the care they receive is not only effective but also aligned with their lifestyle. For example, patients on our weight programs are connected with a health coach who guides them through behaviour and diet changes, alongside their treatment. They also receive 1:1 communication via our app, with this personalised touch ensuring that patients feel supported at every step of their journey. 

Quality communication 

High-quality communication is the cornerstone of effective healthcare. At Eucalyptus, we’ve embraced digital platforms to facilitate this communication between patients and their care teams. From our Patient Engagement team to our Patient Experience team, every step of our consult experience is aimed at engaging and empowering our patients — whether it be a carefully written titration schedule, onboarding materials, personalised emails to support side effect management, a call with an engagement specialist to explain the program or a phone consult with a practitioner. Every interaction within our digital clinics is marked by an effort to exceed expectations, setting a new standard for “bedside” manner in the online healthcare sphere. Interestingly, there’s growing evidence to suggest that treatment adherence, symptom surveillance and appointment attendance improve when patients receive text-based care [3, 4, 5, 6,7]. However, we do offer both real-time and asynchronous communication with practitioners, depending on the needs of the patient and their consult requirements. 

Holistic approach 

At Euc, we believe a lifetime of good health is possible. However, we know health is not just the absence of illness, but the overall wellbeing of our patients. We support a holistic approach to healthcare, addressing not only the symptoms but also the underlying factors that contribute to a patient’s health. We have a duty of care to all our users and potential patients to provide adequate education so they feel encouraged and informed enough to make the right decision for their own health – whether it’s becoming a patient, or not. For context, almost 20-30% of patients who enter into a consult are deemed unsuitable for Eucalyptus services and are referred to consult with a community GP. 

Empowerment through education 

Empowering patients with health literacy is fundamental to patient advocacy at Eucalyptus. In the digital age, information about health is abundant, but deciphering it can be daunting. We work to bridge this gap by providing our patients with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their health. We specialise in providing treatments for stigmatised, misunderstood, and underserved conditions, many of which are chronic. Our digital clinics not only break down barriers associated with accessing healthcare but also empower individuals to take ownership of their health.

Educational resources  

We know that an informed patient is an empowered patient. Through our user-friendly digital platforms, like our members-only app, patients have access to a wealth of educational resources, ranging from articles and videos to interactive modules that break down complex medical information into digestible pieces. This not only enhances their understanding of their conditions but also promotes a proactive approach to health management. This level of communication is in stark contrast to the often rushed and sometimes confusing information patients can receive in face-to-face GP settings. 

How we use digital platforms to improve the patient experience 

In this era of digital health, we don’t view leveraging technology as an option, but a necessity. Eucalyptus has built an industry-leading digital platform to streamline our process, enhance communication and improve patient safety, ultimately elevating the patient experience. As a global telehealth provider, we eliminate geographical carriers through our services, with patients scheduling appointments with their practitioners virtually, saving time and reducing the need to travel. Additionally, our robust and secure collection of patient data, specifically our health coaching trends engine, allows our practitioners to provide proactive intervention, improving patient outcomes. 

Data-driven decision making 

Eucalyptus clinicians are supported by our robust data analytics to drive decision-making at every step of the patient journey. Our clinics have the advantage of shared resources and a common patient experience, allowing us to deliver high-quality care at a speed, scale and level of patient safety unrivalled by any other healthcare provider. Through secure and compliant data collection, we gain valuable insights into patient health trends, treatment outcomes and areas for improvement. This data-driven approach enables us to continually refine and enhance our patient experience. 

Eucalyptus’ approach to patient advocacy in a digital health environment is a testament to our commitment to revolutionising healthcare. By placing the patient at the centre, providing education as a tool for empowerment and leveraging digital platforms to enhance their overall experience, Eucalyptus is reshaping the future of healthcare — one patient at a time. We’re intensely proud to have passionate, engaged and empowered individuals with their own unique skills helping us make our mission of reforming healthcare, globally, a reality.

Sources: 

[1] https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/more-people-waiting-longer-see-gps-urgent-medical-care#:~:text=Key%20statistics&text=Robert%20Long%2C%20ABS%20Director%2C%20Health,cent%20in%202020%2D21.%E2%80%9D

[2] https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/wellbeing/four-words-that-highlight-major-divide-among-australians/news-story/6b3533aff7d0a5f882a4df8a5a03c42d

[3] Suffoletto, B., Kristan, J., Callaway, C., et al. (2014). A text message alcohol intervention for young adult emergency department patients: a randomised clinical trial. Ann Emerg Med, 64(6):664-72.

[4] Montes, J., Medina, E., Gomez-Beneyeto, M., et al. (2012). A short message service (SMS)-based strategy for enhancing adherence to antipsychotic medication in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Res, 200(2-3): 89-95.

[5] Gonzales, R., Douglas, A., Glik, D., et al. (2014). Exploring the feasibility of text messaging to support substance abuse recovery among youth in treatment. Health Educ Res, 29(1): 13-22.

[6] Bauer, S., Okon, E., Meerman, R., et al. (2012). Technology-enhanced maintenance of treatment gains in eating disorders: Efficacy of an intervention delivered via text messaging. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(4): 700-706.

[7] Simon, E., Edwards, A., Sajatovic, M., et al. (2022). Systematic literature review of text messaging interventions to promote medication adherence among people with serious mental health illness. Psychiatry services, 73(10): 1153-1164.

Authors

Silvio Cohilj
Patient Engagement Specialist