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We’ve all heard the term “Doctor’s orders.” Until recently, that’s largely how traditional patient care has been delivered — with practitioners telling patients what to do to treat their condition.
This practitioner-driven model of healthcare is undergoing a transition, however, as a growing number of providers embrace patient-centered care. In a patient-centered care model of delivery, the patient — rather than the practitioner — is at the core. Instead of simply giving orders, the patient-centered practitioner takes a collaborative and coordinated approach that actively involves the patient and their family — from the initial consultation to treatment to follow up.
Patient-centered care also recognizes that every patient is unique. As such, patient-centered care is designed to address the individual needs, preferences, and values of the patient with the goal of supporting the best possible outcome. In a patient-centered care delivery model, patients are treated not just from a clinical perspective, but from emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and financial perspectives. In other words, the full patient is considered — not just the condition or disease.
While approaches vary from provider to provider, there are several common tenants that help define care as being patient-centric.
Patients experience a range of emotions throughout their care journey, including fear and uncertainty. In patient-centered care, practitioners recognize, respect, and respond to those emotions. Providers also make efforts to put their patients at ease.
Patient-centered practitioners work in partnership with patients and their families, allowing them to voice concerns and provide feedback until all parties arrive at a mutually agreeable treatment plan. This goes a long way toward building trusted relationships between provider and patient.
In patient-centered care, practitioners provide ongoing and open communication with patients and families through every part of the care journey. Providers equip patients with educational resources, and make sure that patients understand the information they’ve been given.
Patient-centered practitioners share decision-making around treatment with their patients and families, taking into consideration patients’ barriers, hesitations, and preferences. Practitioners also make sure they understand their patients’ goals and clearly define the different roles of everyone involved.
To ensure patients can continue to manage their own care and health, patient-centered providers offer information and resources, send out after-care communications, schedule preventative care appointments and follow-up visits, and offer referrals to other resources. This ensures a continuity of care beyond the patient’s visit.
Patient-centered practitioners develop individualized treatment plans that take into account the whole patient, including physical wellbeing, mental and emotional health, family, culture, and socioeconomic status.
Building a patient-centered care model takes time and resources, but the investment is seeing a return. Healthcare organizations that have transitioned to patient-centered care are realizing significant benefits for their clinical staff as well as patients. These include:
Higher Levels of Trust
Patients who receive ongoing communications from their providers feel more involved in their own care, and develop stronger relationships with their practitioners based on trust.
Increased Patient Satisfaction
This enhanced communication and trust translates directly to an improved patient experience. Patients who have a say in their own care feel valued, respected, and understood, and as a result more satisfied with the care they’re receiving. In fact, research shows a 23% improvement in overall patient satisfaction with providers who employ patient-centered care1.
Increased Clinician Satisfaction
Research also shows that clinicians who participate in patient-centered care have a higher sense of fulfillment and job satisfaction2. This leads to higher morale and better retention.
Reduced Health Disparities
Patient-centered practices focus on providing a welcoming, inclusive environment that respects every patient. Evidence suggests that this approach can be effective at reducing racial, ethnic, and gender health disparities, making healthcare more equitable and accessible3.
Better Patient Outcomes
One of the aims of patient-centered care is to help patients understand their own health conditions and the benefits of their treatment. With more understanding comes a higher trust level, which encourages patients to follow their providers’ recommended treatment4. Patients who take a more active role in managing their conditions are also more likely to improve their overall health5.
Patient-centered care shows great promise in reducing healthcare costs as well. In one study, patients who received patient-centered care over the course of a year had significantly fewer annual practitioner visits and required fewer hospitalizations, lab work, and imaging — translating into lower out-of-pocket costs6.
Another study found that a Pennsylvania-based medical home realized savings of $214 per month after adopting a patient-centered model7. What’s more, patients who are more likely to follow treatment plans and manage their own care are less likely to be re-hospitalized and require follow-up care, further lowering costs.
At SureCo, we believe in extending patient-centered care across your entire healthcare experience. That’s why we’re a people-first company. Learn more about our focus on empowering the patient by calling (800) 467-4898.
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