Understanding the Importance of a Patient-Centric Approach in Healthcare
Healthcare industry transformations have taken place rapidly over recent decades. Emerging trends and unpredictable industry characteristics present a tremendous challenge to all stakeholders as an informed public becomes ever-more demanding of healthcare services and procedures. To meet such high public demands effectively, patient-centricity has emerged as a new paradigm that places patients in the center of all healthcare procedures and services, honoring their needs and preferences for services while creating approaches tailored to each patient’s specific circumstances.
This model seeks to establish a healthcare system that meets patients’ needs and preferences rather than treating them solely as medical cases.
The Key Components of Patient-Centric Care
To create a model where patients are at the core of the care experience, certain features and components should be kept in mind:
Collaboration and empathy
Collaboration and empathy between patients and healthcare providers should be fostered. Patients should actively take part in making decisions concerning their healthcare, while healthcare providers must act with kindness and respect by listening carefully and responding accordingly to any of their patient’s concerns.
When developing care plans, this approach requires customizing them based on each patient’s history, lifestyle, and social context.
Continuity of care
Patients should benefit from coordinated healthcare services provided by multidisciplinary teams that aim to deliver integrated procedures without fragmented delivery methods.
Engaging patients at every step in the care process by offering health status updates and including them in decisions related to procedures or care services.
Access to care
Assure patients have on-time and on-budget healthcare service that provides preventive, acute, and emergency care and ongoing chronic condition management services.
Quality of care
At the core of any healthcare model is quality care that meets four fundamental standards – evidence, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Overall, patient-centric care involves providing high-quality healthcare services enhanced by compassion and empathy while respecting each patient’s preferences and decisions.
Benefits of a Patient-Centric Approach in Healthcare
Patient-centric approaches to healthcare systems involve creating relationships between practitioners, patients, and families to make healthcare decisions collaboratively. Such an approach has many advantages that make healthcare better overall, including:
- Better results: because patients are at the center of healthcare systems, they become active participants in their care – actively engaging in the early detection of diseases and following prescribed treatments. Furthermore, improved health self-knowledge results in better post-discharge care reducing readmissions, hospital visits, and secondary consultations. Furthermore, seamless communication among healthcare providers guarantees that no piece of lifestyle or medical history information is left forgotten or unknown leading to improved medical outcomes and reduced medical errors.
- Better patient satisfaction: when patients believe they are active participants in their care programs and their expectations are fulfilled, patient experience and retention increase dramatically. Doctor satisfaction also rises significantly when their patients’ quality of life increases.
- Increased efficiency: improving health self-management can dramatically lower healthcare costs while creating more coordinated treatment plans that produce optimal results. Therefore, effective self-care’s benefits are reduced healthcare costs and better coordination, leading to more effective care plans.
Improved patient satisfaction and outcomes
Patient satisfaction is considered one of the most critical metrics and drivers of patient-centric healthcare systems. This KPI is usually measured using patient feedback surveys or a quantitative calculation based on patient outcomes. Most healthcare providers use patient satisfaction to measure the quality of care, patients’ overall perception of the services provided, and the interactions between healthcare providers, patients, and their families.
For most healthcare providers (hospitals, clinics, and laboratories), patient satisfaction evaluates the compliance degree with treatments and medication, customer engagement, and communication.
But to achieve absolute satisfaction, the patient flow must be kept in mind, which is essential in achieving the desired results. Here, the most common scenario primarily focuses on resource efficiency, contributing to flow interruptions (waiting and idle time) and only local optimization. Actually, around 74% of a patient’s stay in a healthcare facility is waiting time, which means that these services are usually designed to optimize resources (medical workers or pieces of equipment) instead of optimizing the patient flow. The first step to achieving global optimization and patient satisfaction is to break functional silos and create an end-to-end flow. This mindset makes it easier to focus on the patient and clearly explain diagnoses and treatments, contributing significantly to patient satisfaction.
Cost-effectiveness and efficiency in healthcare operations
It is important to note that reducing costs and improving efficiency in operations with a patient-centric approach will always maintain the quality and integrity of care. With that in mind, the fact that unnecessary treatments and medication are reduced or eliminated also contributes to reducing costs. This approach allows for better resource allocation planning, including medical staff or equipment, thereby cutting associated costs. By improving satisfaction and achieving better healthcare outcomes, patients show better treatment compliance, resulting in better results and cost-effectiveness.
Due to unnecessary investment in extra resources and process waste, around 29% of healthcare expenditures are used to cover inefficiencies. Reducing waste and variability in the process reduces excess effort and the need to invest in additional resources, which adds to cost-effectiveness and efficiency gains.
Implementing a Patient-Centric Approach in Healthcare
Implementing this healthcare model requires a personalized and collaborative approach involving the most critical stakeholders to achieve optimal solutions. The current state of the world is transforming the industry, spotlighting new strategies and methods for implementing patient-centric care, which will be described in more detail in the following paragraphs.
Strategies and methods for implementing patient-centric care
To provide a seamless patient experience and shorten the patient journey, healthcare institutions should:
- Shift the paradigm from resource-centric to patient-centric.
- Define value from the patient’s point of view, implementing Value-Based Healthcare strategies.
- Focus on increasing the density of value transfer to the patient.
- Design layouts suited to the physical flow of people and equipment.
- Integrate activities to reduce flow interruptions, which include preparation, medical acts, and post-care.
Together with a focus on care coordination (between different providers, families, and patients) and personalization (development of individually tailored care plans), these methods are crucial when implementing a genuinely patient-centric approach.
Another strategy is ensuring that medical resources enable patient flow at a sustainable cost. To do this, healthcare providers are encouraged to:
- Consider the efficiency of professionals and equipment as a combination of three factors: occupation, performance, and quality.
- Reduce downtime, including space and equipment preparation, shift changes, and compliance with start-up times.
- Simplify processes and focus the operation on value-generating activities.
- Standardize procedures and criteria to prevent failures and readmissions.
- Balance tasks between resources.
When implementing a patient-centric model that highlights customer experience, any healthcare provider should be aware that 93% of patients value easy access to information and the health institution’s digital and technological ability. Several improvements should also be implemented regarding integrating data and digitalization, namely improving the process before digitalization and choosing the right healthcare technology for each application rather than the other way around.
The common ground among all the mentioned methods and strategies is applying a continuous improvement approach to patient-centric healthcare. This means continuously measuring the results of each method or action and applying countermeasures every time a deviation is detected.
The role of technology in patient engagement and care delivery
Some technologies support patient engagement and care delivery and contribute to the implementation of a patient-centric healthcare model:
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
EHRs allow providers to access a patient’s medical history immediately, improving communication and decision-making capabilities.
Patient portals enable individuals to access their health records easily, communicate with healthcare providers, and schedule appointments. It improves data access speed and streamlines the process, saving patients time and effort.
Remote monitoring allows patients to keep an eye on their vital signs and other health information using wearables and sensors. This healthcare technology is usually connected with mobile health apps that provide tracking health data tools to monitor symptoms and receive tailored recommendations.
Telemedicine connects healthcare providers remotely, especially in rural areas or regarding patients with mobility restrictions.
Data Analytics: The Driving Force Behind Patient-Centric Care
Data analytics is a cornerstone of patient-centric care because it allows healthcare providers to leverage patient information, thus enhancing care delivery and outcomes for individual patients.
The role of data analytics in healthcare
Here are a few ways data analytics contributes to patient-centricity in healthcare:
- Personalized care: analytics enable providers to quickly recognize patterns in patient data and customize care accordingly, for instance by helping identify people at risk of specific conditions and provide tailored treatment plans accordingly.
- Population health management: data analytics provides an efficient means of examining large volumes of patient information in order to recognize trends and patterns across an entire population.
- Predictive analytics: uses patient data to predict potential health problems before they manifest in real-time, thereby reducing readmissions.
- Real-time decision-making: data analytics enables providers to make real-time decisions based on patient information, helping identify patients at risk for adverse events and intervene before these adverse incidents occur.
- Quality enhancement: data analytics can help providers identify areas where healthcare delivery and patient outcomes can be improved.
Data analytics equips providers with a powerful means for delivering personalized healthcare, improving population health outcomes, anticipating potential health issues that might emerge before they occur, making real-time decisions, and ultimately increasing the quality of care provided.
The KAIZEN™ Approach to Patient-Centric Care
The need for patient-centricity is bringing new insights to the table, reshaping the entire healthcare sector. The KAIZEN™ approach to patient-centric care is based on a comprehensive model that includes breakthrough improvements in Patient Flow, Resources Efficiency, Digitalization, Agile Planning, and Logistics performance. These five pillars come together to deliver a cohesive approach that healthcare providers should apply in every core or support area of their operations.
A KAIZEN™ approach advocates continuous improvement across an organization’s operations in every sector of the economy, including healthcare. Within patient-centric care settings, this means empowering patients and families, optimizing healthcare processes, and creating an atmosphere conducive to continuous learning and improvement.
Here are the key principles of the KAIZEN™ approach to patient-centric care:
Empower patients and their families
KAIZEN™ methodology encourages healthcare providers to engage patients and their family members in their care process by offering information and support that enables them to make informed decisions and actively manage their care.
Optimize healthcare processes
KAIZEN™ emphasizes optimizing healthcare processes such as patient flow design, logistics, planning processes, and technology use to increase efficiency, minimize waste and enhance care quality.
Foster an environment of continuous improvement
KAIZEN™ encourages healthcare organizations to foster continuous learning and improvement by inviting staff members to contribute with their ideas, identify improvement areas, and experiment with different forms of care delivery.
Use data for decision-making
The KAIZEN™ approach stresses the value of using data to influence decision-making and identify improvement areas. By collecting and analyzing patient outcomes, safety, and satisfaction data, healthcare organizations can quickly recognize areas for enhancement and develop targeted interventions to further their care delivery efforts.
Do you still have some questions about the patient-centric approach to healthcare?
What is patient-centric care?
Patient-centric healthcare refers to an approach to healthcare that places patient needs, values, and preferences at the core of every decision made in treating them. This recognizes that each person has unique requirements when receiving healthcare that must be considered when providing it. This approach considers all aspects of patient experience, from communication and emotional support to resource access.
What is patient engagement in healthcare?
Patient engagement in healthcare involves actively engaging patients in their care. It empowers individuals to make educated decisions regarding their healthcare and take an active part in managing any conditions associated with it.
Applications of data analytics in healthcare
Data analytics has become an essential tool in healthcare organizations today, offering multiple applications which help enhance patient outcomes, cut costs and streamline processes. Common uses for data analytics in healthcare include: population health management, clinical decision-making, predictive modeling, quality improvement, and operational optimization.
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