Patient Centricity – It’s Time for a New Focus

May 9, 2016
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Patient Centricity – It’s Time for a New Focus

Patient Centricity – It is not just the newest healthcare buzzword, it is an emerging concept that is here to stay! Healthcare is currently making rapid shifts, and one of the most fundamental of these shifts is the shift to what industry professionals are terming “patient centricity.”

Patient Centricity – It’s Time for a New Focus

Patient Centricity – It is not just the newest healthcare buzzword, it is an emerging concept that is here to stay! Healthcare is currently making rapid shifts, and one of the most fundamental of these shifts is the shift to what industry professionals are terming “patient centricity.”

Patient centricity is essentially turning the traditional healthcare view, healthcare process, and the roles of healthcare professionals around so that each element of care is focused on the patient.  More importantly, instead of merely focusing care around the patient – emerging views of patient centricity are working to empower patients to play a more dynamic and proactive role in their own health.  For the first time ever, patients are not only the center of healthcare, but they have more power than ever to shape their own health and participate in their own wellness!

Patient Centered Care

Empowering Healthcare Consumers

Several significant shifts have taken place that are leading to more empowered patients.  In fact, people are no longer being viewed as patients, but rather consumers of healthcare.  Indeed, the healthcare sector is rapidly beginning to operate in a way that mirrors the way other traditional service based industries operate.  There is increased competition in the landscape, healthcare consumers are more savvy when it comes to receiving services – thanks in part to more transparency than ever – and are much more involved in their personal health due to technology.

The following are some changes which are leading toward a new generation of empowered healthcare consumers:

  • Today’s healthcare consumers have more access to their health data than ever before, and are much more active in not only ensuring their own wellness, but shaping a preferred treatment plan for an illness when it occurs
  • Today’s healthcare consumers have more access to data about their healthcare providers (such as quality ratings, pricing information, and access) which allows them to “shop” for healthcare services based on quality and price
  • Today’s healthcare consumers are more likely than ever to have healthcare benefits, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and healthcare reform, so many more people are utilizing the healthcare system
  • Today’s healthcare consumers have more access to information in general. From the ability to get an accurate online diagnosis through platforms such as DocResponse, to simply having more access about healthcare information thanks to the internet, people are currently much more informed.

Changes for Today’s Doctors and Healthcare Service Providers

As the healthcare landscape changes to focus more on a proactive, educated, and empowered patient, healthcare’s providers need to respond with a corresponding shift.

Previously, when people had little information about their health or a specific condition, their healthcare provider was the sole source of healthcare expertise.  Today’s physicians will need to take on a new role – that of a trusted advisor who not only continues to provide expertise to healthcare consumers, but also assists people in interpreting all of the healthcare data that they come across.

In addition to this, it is critical for providers and healthcare organizations to take on the role of facilitator, to assist healthcare consumers in getting the treatment that they need throughout the healthcare continuum through referrals and coordinated care approaches.

Finding Value in Patient Centricity

Not only is patient centricity an important aspect of respecting a newly emerging empowered and educated patient, but it is proving beneficial by decreasing the cost of care as well as improving care outcomes.

According to John Quelch, Professor of Health Policy Management, Harvard “If the consumer is engaged in researching his/her own care, they will be more likely to also become engaged in preventative care.  Taking such preventative actions can help save money, improve self-esteem and quality of life, and achieve better adherence to practitioner recommendations at the same time, so engaging the consumer as a partner in healthcare can be cost effective and can improve outcomes at the same time.”

Providers who are looking for ways to increase engagement and take a more patient centered approach to care can begin by doing the following:

  • Refer patients to trusted healthcare resources, such as the DocResponse online diagnostic tool which was created by physicians and recognized as the most accurate diagnostic tool available in a recent study by Harvard
  • Encourage patients to lead a healthy lifestyle that focuses on prevention, and recommend self- use applications to track health metrics
  • Have open and honest dialogue with patients about their care preferences, and challenges to treatment plans
  • Work to utilize technology in your practice to give patients access to their healthcare records via patient portals
  • Engage patients outside of the office across social media platforms providing illness specific resources, and with targeted wellness programs that benefit health and increase engagement
  • Become part of a strong referral network, or create a referral network so that patients who need to seek care outside of your healthcare organization can go to a reputable provider that you trust – and who you communicate with!

What is your healthcare organization or practice doing to promote a patient centric approach?  Please share with us in the comments below or on social!

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