The past few years have ignited a major shift in how patients think about healthcare and as the landscape moves more towards a patient-centered business model, it’s becoming more and more crucial for healthcare systems to keep up with what patients want. Let's learn more about patient-centered care.
- What is patient-centered care?
- The future of patient-provider collaboration
- How to improve patient care and outcomes
Patient-centered Healthcare is All the Rage
What is patient-centered care?
You took an oath as a healthcare professional to provide the highest quality of patient care possible. But what does it truly mean to be patient-centered? How can you practice patient-centered care? Why is patient-centered care important to desired health outcomes?
Consumer collaboration isn’t a new concept. However, it is relatively fresh to the healthcare community. Senior Vice President of Consumer Partnerships for Commonwealth Care Alliance Melissa Karp, says if healthcare were “any other industry, we would have been out of business 100 years ago” because we’re just now starting to implement collaboration seriously and intentionally between care providers and patients.
In 2014, the Henry Ford Health System was one of a handful of U.S. organizations that chose to participate in the groundbreaking research study to improve patient outcomes. From that study, the Henry Ford Patient Engaged Research Center (PERC) was born.
The purpose of PERC is to transform research results into evidence-based healthcare with the patient’s perspective at the center of this change. From this research, the healthcare community has learned that the perspectives of patients and families can directly impact the planning, delivery, and evaluation of care.
Achieving patient-centered care is vital for a patient’s success because studies show it’s positively associated with satisfaction of care, as well as physical and social wellbeing. Making care more tailored to the needs of patients can lower the rate of emergency room visits, lead to faster recovery, decrease the utilization of health care resources, increase patient, family, and care team satisfaction, plus improve health outcomes.
The Picker Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of patient-centered care, developed a framework for patient-centered care. Included within the framework are eight key principles and they are:
- Respect for patient values, preferences, and needs
- Coordination and integration of care
- Information and education
- Physical comfort
- Emotional support and alleviation of fear
- Involvement of family and friends
- Continuity and transition
- Access to care
Not only does s positive patient experience and patient-centered care improve health outcomes, but it also increases the chance that patients will return to the provider or health institution for future physicals, immunizations, and more.
Plus, patient-centered care can lead to improved patient satisfaction scores, better morale and productivity across healthcare personnel, improved resource allocation, and even reduced expenses in the long run. In short, patient-centered care benefits patients, families, health care providers, and health systems and organizations.
The future of patient-provider collaboration
As you heal ailments, reset broken bones, and more, it’s up to you to work with the patient in order to offer the highest quality of care. While you focus your healthcare skills on your patient, collaborate with them to learn their thoughts, feelings, and any concerns they may have. Ways that you can work closely with your patients to refine the level of care given include asking for honest, unfiltered feedback, working with the patient's loved ones, researching existing data on patient communication, and leading a focus group or patient panel.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that patient-centered care has been directly related to reduced pain and discomfort, faster physical and emotional recovery, as well as improved outcomes and quality of life.
How to improve patient care and outcomes
One of the most human desires is to be respected by others, and that goes for patients. Like you, your patients have direct and indirect needs and that impact their health outcomes. Things like their level of education, race, financial constraints, transportation availability, and care access influence patient choices and results. When you acknowledge and take care of patient concerns, you demonstrate that you see them as human beings with unique needs.
Without your patients, you wouldn’t have a job in healthcare. So, try practicing gratitude and thanking your patients for choosing you as their healthcare provider. The Clinical Advisor reports that healthcare professionals who apply gratitude to their patient care generate significantly higher patient satisfaction scores.
Involve the patient's loved ones
According to AMA Journal of Ethics, patient care requires embracing the support and contributions of every patient’s family and loved ones. As care plans become more collaborative, it’s up to you to include your patient’s loved ones throughout the process. When healthcare providers treat patients and take their family into account, they generate more trust, and enhance the patient experience.
Coordinate patient care with other providers
While they saying may go "it takes a village to raise a family," the same is true when it comes to treating the ill — it takes a village. Of course, your patient care coordination will be customized per patient, but one thing remains consistent and that’s the inclusion of other healthcare professionals.
Provide emotional support
Not only do patients need physical support, but they also require emotional support to make it through a difficult time. Ideal patient care entails a touch of psychology and picking up on cues to determine how open each individual patient is to various types of support. Practicing patient-centered care is a science and an art — let instinct and experience guide you and help you connect your patient.
Engage in a patient-centered care planSure, you’re the healthcare expert, but that doesn’t mean patients shouldn’t have a say or be involved in their care. Start with patient-centered communication where you encourage questions and demonstrate that you’re always open to new ideas to empower them to partner with you.
The future of patient-centered care starts with a renewed focus on the patient. As healthcare professionals, it’s your responsibility to meet patients where they are in their health journey and empower them to live a healthy life.
It’s not a new concept to focus on the consumer. But, when it comes to healthcare, patient-centered care models haven't always been the norm. As this fresh idea permeates the healthcare industry, it creates the opportunity for you to participate and promote a patient-centered care model during each travel job. The more you focus on the patient, the more likely it is that they will be satisfied with their level of care.