Finding the Way Back to Patient-Centered Care

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Most agree that the movement of healthcare towards accountability, medical homes and disease management requires a focus on patient-centered care. It was interesting to find these two articles focusing on the subject of patient-centered care published one month apart:

MedCity News wrote on the "3 things that must happen for patient-centered care to become the standard":

  1. The “whole patient” must be addressed, not just physical health – Must consider financial means, caregiver availability, and other factors.

  2. The payment model must shift – From fee-for-service to prevention.

  3. Every piece of the system must be engaged – From the physician to the pharmacy, everyone needs to reinforce the message.

Meanwhile, Becker’s ran an article by Kristin Baird on "3 Sure-Fire Ways to Kill a Patient-Centered Culture":

  1. Talking about patient-centeredness as a priority, and then never speaking about it again.
    Instead keep it front and center in daily conversations.

  2. Watch your finance focus.
    Instead focus on engaged employees and the money will follow.

  3. Make it the flavor of the month.
    Baird suggests integrating patient-centeredness into company culture, rather than announcing it as a program/initiative.

In both perspectives, patient-centered care starts with patient-centered teams. It strikes me as odd that we’re dishing out patient-centered advice to healthcare providers who are supposed to be patient-centered to begin with. How did the patient get so far out of the picture that we need to have projects and programs to help patient providers bring them back into focus?

My sense, from the various observational studies and analysis we have conducted, is not that practitioners are not patient-centered, but that care centricity is under assault from the dozens of tasks and other priorities that get in the way of patient care. One strategy to higher patient centered care – clear the clutter.

If you’d like an objective assessment of your patient’s experience in your facility and how it is affecting patients and care providers, please contact our team. We can share smart strategies and tools to move the unessential work out of patient encounters so your teams can do what they love more effectively.

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