A Patient-Centered Approach to Better Care

Posted on Fri, Oct 02, 2015
A Patient-Centered Approach to Better Care

Bill Edwards, R.N., M.S.
Senior Vice President of National Clinical Quality Strategy, Evolution Health


The Institute of Medicine defines patient-centered care as: "Respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions." Patient-centered care is a journey that moves decision-making directly to the individual despite frailty, cognitive impairment or the location in which services are provided. It includes the valuable input of care partners and integrates all aspects of daily life, creating environments where people can fully thrive and grow.


Patient-centered care improves access to care, efficiency of care and coordination of care, resulting in improved quality of care. Patients are supported in achieving the level of physical, mental and psychosocial well-being that is individually practicable. This goal honors the importance of keeping the person in the center of the care planning and decision-making process. Care plans are living documents that are revised to reflect a person’s changing needs.


In patient-centered care, clinicians and care providers place a premium on active listening and observing so they can readily adapt to each patient’s unique needs, regardless of cognitive abilities and physical limitations. Patient-centered care is more about focusing on the patient’s needs, wants and individual lifestyle. It is about giving people the tools to take control of their own health through products and directives that they can maintain between periodic visits with their primary care clinician.


As clinicians we talk about the behavioral changes necessary for a patient to benefit from our education and counseling, but what about the changes that we also must make? While clinicians possess the clinical expertise to care for patients, we should also view patients as equals and experts. After all, patients bring their personal knowledge and experience regarding the alignment of different treatment options and action plans with their values and preferences. They know best how well their healthcare providers are meeting their needs and expectations, and this view directly correlates with patient outcomes and patient satisfaction.


At Evolution Health, we’re committed to improving both the health of individual patients and populations. Providing patient-centered care helps us achieve that goal. We promote active patient engagement at every level of care design and implementation. We also utilize a holistic approach, coordinating care, enhancing communication, providing support, empowering the patient and ensuring ready access to care.


Patients want a personal relationship with their caregivers, communication and empathy. A patient-centered approach gives you the opportunity to provide that and much, much more. Our patients deserve no less.


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