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What Is Patient Centricity in Healthcare?

woman and her doctor looking at an ipad in a doctors office

What Is Patient Centricity in Healthcare?

Historically, patients have played relatively small roles in their healthcare experiences. They might have left the doctor’s office with inadequate knowledge of their diagnosis, vague instructions to see another provider and a prescription they didn’t understand. Today’s providers are taking a better approach — one that prioritizes the patient’s role in their care.

Patient-centric care is driving the industry forward, and organizations must embrace it if they plan to continue offering the best care possible.

What Is Patient Centricity?

Patient centricity, also called person-centered care, aims to make patients active players in their healthcare. They become participants who make choices about their health and are more empowered to take action, such as asking questions or being more compliant with medications. This approach involves virtually every element of the patient’s journey, from scheduling appointments and contacting providers to viewing statements and choosing treatment plans.

Patient centricity requires trust and communication between patients and providers. It also calls for extensive cooperation between different parts of the healthcare system, like various providers, institutions, technology solutions, insurance companies and labs. Coordination among these entities can help improve resource use and the quality of care.

Healthcare used to be organized around the number of services a patient received, but now, a significant part of patient-centric care is about minimizing future medical needs through preventative and high-quality care that reduces the likelihood of repeated office visits or hospital readmission. With fewer resources going toward costly, preventable visits, healthcare organizations can focus their resources on delivering high-quality care and improving engagement and efficiency, which drive increased patient satisfaction and optimize revenue cycles.

Common Elements of Patient Centricity

Patient-centered care requires the coordination of many different entities and technologies to provide a cohesive experience. Some components of patient-centered care include:

Prioritization of the Patient’s Role and Education

First and foremost is a general understanding of the patient’s part in their care. Providers and staff must treat the patient with respect and dignity, allowing them to make decisions. Instead of treating interactions as transactional or keeping patients in the dark, the entire healthcare system should give patients the data they need to make informed choices. Education and access to relevant resources are key components of patient-centered care.

Communication Between Patients, Providers and Organizations

One way to help patients understand their care is through transparency and communication. While an open one-on-one between a patient and their doctor is excellent, the entire system should facilitate strong communication. Some ways to improve communication include:

  • Creating pathways for patients to contact their care team, such as phone calls and messaging platforms.
  • Giving providers the time and training to adequately discuss care with the patient instead of rushing through it.
  • Simplifying patient access to information related to their care, like visit summaries, lab results and billing statements.
  • Implementing technology solutions that allow different systems to communicate seamlessly, conveniently and securely.
  • Providing transparency for healthcare costs and explaining them to patients.

Responsive Treatment Options

Treatments should meet the patients where they are. Instead of prescribing an unrealistic treatment plan, providers respectfully incorporate the patient’s lifestyle, values and culture into their treatment.

For example, take a patient who receives a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis and eats a diet high in carbohydrates, cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Transitioning to a healthier diet overnight would be very difficult for the patient, so the doctor might first suggest some smaller changes, like swapping out simple carbohydrates for complex ones. The doctor could then connect the patient with a dietitian to help them make changes in the long term and make sure the patient is confident in this plan.

Responsive treatment options improve compliance, which can prevent worsening health issues.

A Comprehensive and Preventative Approach to Care

A major tenet of patient-centered care is preventing future health needs and supporting all-around wellness. Preventative and multidisciplinary care helps to identify problems early, find root causes and promote healthy lifestyle changes where appropriate. It also helps to identify social and mental wellness concerns early and direct patients to the proper resources, such as counseling services.

Accessibility and Affordability

Healthcare systems and organizations can support patient-centered care by making care more accessible with easy-to-use tools and affordable pricing. By minimizing operational costs, health care organizations can focus on providing excellent care and lowering out-of-pocket costs.

Benefits of a Patient-Centric Approach

A patient-centered approach has advantages for patients, providers and everyone in the healthcare system. These benefits include:

  • Increased engagement: The emphasis on patient involvement helps them be more engaged in their care, which helps improve treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction and health. It also supports the provider’s productivity.
  • Better understanding of health: When patients receive education on their health, they can make more informed choices and achieve better compliance, which ultimately helps the providers achieve better outcomes.
  • Stronger collaboration among providers: Providers frequently remain disconnected from other organizations, but patient-centered care promotes more connectivity and collaboration. It can reduce unnecessary tests, provide more information for diagnoses and improve care coordination.
  • Cost savings: Individual organizations can use a patient-centric approach to boost loyalty and satisfaction and reduce operational costs. Meanwhile, the industry and patients can save money by limiting preventable visits and promoting efficiency through collaboration.

How to Adopt a Patient-Centric Approach in Healthcare

The patient-centric approach is paving the way forward for all disciplines of healthcare, and here are some tips on how you can implement it in your organization:

1. Start With a Cultural Shift

A shift in mindset is one of the most important parts of patient-centered care. Spend time talking to your team about what it means and how they can incorporate its principles in everyday care. Consider areas where your workflow could benefit from adjustments that empower the patient.

2. Streamline Operations

Operational inefficiencies can create friction for your team and patients. Aim to reduce them wherever possible with optimized workflows and targeted technology solutions. Ideally, you’ll have more time to spend with patients and create a better experience.

3. Implement the Right Technology

Offer resources to help you fulfill patient-centered care’s core elements. For example, you can give patients access to their records with a patient portal or improve communication with a secure chat app. Some technologies to consider include:

  • Digital intake forms to streamline the intake process 
  • Online, mobile, text or portal-based payment systems to engage patients how they prefer
  • Virtual care, including video chats and virtual waiting rooms
  • Online patient access to statements and visit summaries
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Communication with family members, such as caretakers or companions during procedures
  • Intelligent automation tools, such as call analysis and robotic process automation to help better serve the patient

Every patient is different, and what engages one person might not work for another. That’s where engagement intelligence comes in. Engagement intelligence technology can determine which communication methods and times are most effective for each patient. For instance, one patient might be more likely to pay their bill or confirm an appointment if called in the evenings, while another patient dislikes these calls and prefers a text during business hours.

Intelligence technology makes these decisions by assessing interactions, preferences and even phone calls. With an engagement intelligence system, you can connect with patients in a way that encourages engagement and promotes patient satisfaction.

You’ll find all of these tools and more in Millennia Patient Payment Solution, a comprehensive engagement platform that improves the patient journey, while increasing revenue.

Learn How Millennia Can Help You Develop a More Patient-Centric Approach

At Millennia, we’ve developed wide-reaching patient engagement solutions for the healthcare industry. Our systems integrate with your existing platforms for an intuitive, seamless, end-to-end approach to patient-centered care. Enable patient-facing and back-end resources that facilitate better outcomes, engagement and efficiency throughout the patient journey.

Learn more about our solutions by requesting your consultation today!