At the heart of every great healthcare practice is the patient. The outcomes of patients’ experiences are key attributes in determining a practice’s success. After all, they are the reason many healthcare professionals get into medicine. So, it’s important that patient outcomes are a core focus of any healthcare practice. Although how these outcomes are addressed will depend on the practice and recent global events have seen years’ worth of new innovations developed and implemented within months. Not only that, but the nature of patient outcomes has shifted towards making more effective use of these innovations. A trend that now requires practices to follow their patients into a new era of digital healthcare.
Patient outcomes of the past
Within the patient’s journey, there are 2 key aspects to consider. The patient experience, and the health outcome of the patient. A positive patient experience can be significantly influenced by the environment around them, both physical and emotional. Hence, each patient’s experience will differ for a variety of reasons. But with many patients arriving in stressful situations, an emphasis on ensuring everyone has a positive experience is essential but tricky given the enormous variation between people and their expectations.
Traditionally, doctors have been at the center of the patient's experience, with there being a significant reliance on a centralised form of care. Patients typically had little choice or say in their treatment and recovery plans. There was value in this aspect, as the knowledge Doctors held was not easily accessible or understandable for most. But as technology has developed, and knowledge levels are increasing, patients are slowly returning to the center of care. This is making the way for a new era of patient-centric care. One that has already proven to not only benefit patients, but even those responsible for caring for them.
The new era of patient centric care
Patient-centred care is defined as providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs, and values. Thus, ensuring the patient’s values guide all clinical decisions. It’s also one of the 6 quality aims for improving care and is recognized as a critical dimension of high-quality healthcare. Which makes it a key aspect for healthcare practices to consider implementing into their business operations.
Although it is a shift away from the more traditional operating approach, the evidence from those that have adopted it suggests it’s the best way forward. Within 3 years of the Medical College of Georgia adopting a patient-centric approach, patient satisfaction went from the 10th percentile to the 95th, medical errors decreased by 62% and staff vacancy rates went from 7.5% to 0%.