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. Here’s why.
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?
Consumer collaboration isn’t a new concept. However, it is relatively fresh to the healthcare community. In fact, 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.
- Assesses the benefits and harms of preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic, palliative, or health delivery system interventions to inform decision-making
- Includes an individual’s preferences, autonomy and needs, and focuses on outcomes that people notice and care about, like survival, function, symptoms, and health-related quality of life
- Incorporates a wide variety of settings and diversity of participants to address individual differences and barriers to implementation dissemination
- Investigates optimizing outcomes while addressing burden to individuals, availability of services, technology, and personnel
Patient-centered care is vital for a patient’s success because studies show it’s positively associated with satisfaction of care and physical and social wellbeing. In fact, 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 healthcare 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 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, healthcare providers, and healthcare institutions 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. Here are some ways you can work closer with your patients to refine the level of care given:
- Ask for honest, unfiltered feedback
- Work with patient loved ones
- Research existing data on patient communication
- Lead 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. So, now that you know how to improve patient outcomes, how can you improve your team’s patient care and health outcomes? Here’s how:
- Show respect. 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 patient outcomes. Things like their level of education, race, financial constraints, transportation availability, and care access influence patient choices and outcomes. When you acknowledge and take care of patient concerns, you demonstrate that you see them as human beings with unique needs.
- Express gratitude. Without your patients, you wouldn’t have a job in healthcare. So, practice gratitude and thank 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 patients’ 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 take the patient’s family into account, they generate more trust, and enhance the patient experience.
- Coordinate patient care with other providers. You know how they say it takes a village to raise kids? Well, the same is true with 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. Providing patient-centered care is a science and an art—let instinct and experience guide you and help you connect your patient.
- Engage patients in their care plan. Sure, you’re the healthcare expert, but that doesn’t mean patients shouldn’t have a say or be involved in their care. 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 a healthcare provider, it’s your responsibility to meet patients where they are in their health journey and empower them to live a healthy life.
How Fusion Marketplace promotes patient-centered care
One of the best parts of Fusion Marketplace is the freedom and ability to research and ultimately choose where your next travel job will take you. Because Marketplace advertises for healthcare jobs in all fields, divisions, and specialties, you can easily peruse and narrow down your options until you find the perfect travel job for you.
When you work a job that you genuinely love and care about, it makes it more enjoyable to do. And thanks to Fusion Marketplace, you’ll always have the autonomy to decide what travel job works best for you, so you can find the ultimate satisfaction with each patient served.
Since Fusion Marketplace allows you to find your own travel jobs, it also empowers you to bring patient-centered care with you wherever you go. Because you move around every 13-ish weeks, you have the unique opportunity to spread the framework for patient-centered care in multiple locations across the country. How many other healthcare professionals can say they’ve enacted patient-centered care throughout several healthcare organizations?
It’s not a new concept to focus on the consumer. But, when it comes to healthcare, patient-centered care hasn’t always been the norm. As this fresh idea permeates the healthcare industry, it creates the opportunity for you to participate and promote patient-centered healthcare 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.