There’s no denying that hospitals and many other healthcare settings can be scary places, and at the end of the day, it’s the patient’s health that is on the line, making the patient-centered care model not just a “should-have” but a “must-have.”

Under the patient-centered care model, the patient becomes the focus and driving force behind healthcare decisions and care delivery, with the goal of treating the whole patient and, as a result, creating better health outcomes.

Though there isn’t one universal definition, common definitions outline core principles of patient-centered care, such as:

How Has the Model Evolved?

Though the term “patient-centered care” dates back to the 1950s, it was not a priority for healthcare organizations. Prior to its entrance into the healthcare mainstream, it was considered almost nonclinical, but this view dissipated when the Institute of Medicine popularized patient-centered care in 2001.

Today, this term continues to evolve, with many beginning to adopt the more holistic term “person-centered care,” which better reflects, and expands on, the goals of the patient-centered care model. Factors that are contributing to the evolution of the term include:

Evolving expectations

High-quality care has always been an expectation, but in many ways, attitudes towards healthcare are changing, with individuals now comparing their experiences within the healthcare system to experiences that occur outside of it. Specifically, there is a greater focus on convenience, digital experiences, and being treated as more than simply a patient.

Financial motivations

As healthcare costs rise, individuals are taking a much more cautious approach to the healthcare system. They are rightfully weighing their options more carefully, often opting for nontraditional healthcare settings.

Developing a Patient-Centered Care Model for Healthcare Today

While strategies for developing a patient-centered practice remain largely unchanged, how organizations execute those strategies should reflect the changes we see in the healthcare space and society in general.

Communicate clearly

Care cannot be patient-centered when patients, and everyone on their care team, are not well-informed. By clearly and regularly communicating healthcare information, providers can reduce anxieties, provide a better patient experience, and establish connections that encourage patients to communicate their needs as well.

To keep up with the evolving healthcare space, providers should utilize next-generation technology, such as mobile apps and remote patient monitoring devices, which keep all sides of a care team connected and promote more shared decision-making.

Make your care more accessible

In light of COVID-19 and a more general focus on convenience in healthcare, it’s essential for organizations and clinicians to make their care as accessible as possible. During the pandemic, telehealth usage surged and is likely to become an expectation.

By implementing telehealth solutions, such as the option for remote appointments, providers not only expand their reach but also help drive down costs and give patients greater power over how they want to receive their healthcare.

Provide more education on treatment

Health literacy is one key to achieving positive health outcomes. Empowering patients with information they can easily digest helps keep healthcare delivery focused on the patients by encouraging more informed patient decisions and more personalized care plans.

With so many digital tools now available, providers have many means of educating patients, whether it be through resources that can be accessed at home or by viewing videos together during in-office appointments. In any case, leveraging technology can help keep patients informed on their treatment while meeting digital experience expectations.

Put Your Patients First with iTether

With our fully integrated telehealth platform, it’s easier than ever to develop a patient-centered care model. Built as a framework, iTether gives each and every organization the digital tools necessary to develop its own unique approach to patient-centered care. Connect with us today to learn more about how we put you first so you can put your patients first.