Patient centered care is an approach which emphasizes:
- Set-in-place, and
- Effective clinic/practice processes
That work well for healthcare providers and their patients.
Patient centered care sounds like common sense within the healthcare industry. After all, it’s what brings patients, healthcare providers, payors and regulatory bodies together: This need to deliver the best medical services to people in need.
But is patient centered care common sense?
Patient centered health care is more than just how a patient is treated by a healthcare professional. It is about creating an ecosystem that determines how:
- Healthcare services
- Healthcare service providers, and
- The government
Together create and reinforce policies that put healthcare users, i.e. patients at the focal point of care which is provided via a patient centered approach.
The principles that define patient centered health care are patient security, effectiveness, efficiency and accessibility. It’s as much about delivering quality healthcare as it is about maintaining confidence in the distributed tools, mechanisms and systems underpinning the American healthcare industry.
- “Communicate With Clearness” by utilizing rehash backs, readbacks with clarifying questions, illustrative figures and numeric explanations.
- “Handoff Effectively” by utilizing the “SBAR” framework to concisely portray the background, context, and to propose a suitable appraisal of the situation.
- “Attention To Detail” uses the “STAR” technique to maintain careful consideration and due diligence: Stop, Think, Act, and Review.
- “Mentor Each Other For 200% Responsibility” is a cross-check mechanism that encourages mindfulness and cooperation, especially when the focus is on ambiguous issues. Both patients and healthcare service providers assume responsibility via this patient centered approach. It encourages a candid discussion on issues that are typically left unexplored beyond the physician’s desk.
- “Practice And Adapt A Scrutinizing Demeanor” Encourage precision, and empower “stop the line” measures when delays for wellbeing demand more clarity. Educate patients about the need for major medical procedures, surgery or treatment.
Protecting The Most Vulnerable: A Healthcare Imperative
Around 44 million individuals in America have no health protection, and another 38 million have insufficient health protection. This implies that almost 33% of Americans face each day without the security of realizing that, if and when they need it, patient centered care is accessible to them and their families.
Correspondingly, zero health insurance implies that individuals will defer fundamental care and forego preventive care. Since the uninsured generally lack access to a regular healthcare facility, and have limited access to physician endorsed prescriptions, they are bound to be hospitalized for health conditions that might have been avoided.
Patient centered health care models and processes are crucial in providing a basic social safety net.
Deferring healthcare or avoiding long-term treatment out of a fear of medical bills is a vicious cycle whose impact affects healthcare costs far beyond the circle of the actual patient.
When an uninsured individual is in emergency, the ‘macro expense’ of healthcare falls upon the:
- General population,
- Clinics/medical practice
- Healthcare providers
- Public sector healthcare support.
In the United States, an army of managerial healthcare laborers and health protection representatives who assume no immediate function in giving patient centered health care costs each American man, woman and child an average of $2,497 every year. Healthcare stakeholders say that the United States is currently wasting a minimum of $600 billion on healthcare administrative work. “Uncompensated care” drives up the cost of health protection for everybody, again underlining the importance of a system based on patient centered health care.
More than 33% of uninsured adults have stated that they struggle in managing their treatment cost alone. This explains the growing number of uninsured individuals who do not seek care they need until absolutely necessary. Is this a good-enough reason to forego patient centered care?
A patient centered approach promises to bring down the cost of healthcare insurance programs by driving efficiency, supported by the scale of universal accessibility of patient centered health care services.
A study was conducted to discover the activities that consume the most nurse and other HCP time. i.e. Time that could be used to deliver patient centered health care. The activities that were discovered to waste the most time in the provision of patient centered approach were mainly related to paper-based documentation, be it credentialing or the lack of a digital framework to record and maintain patient health records.
What Are The Highest Demands On A Healthcare Provider’s Time?
How much time can healthcare providers save if they have to deal with less documentation-related activity? A full 16% to 30%, (according to front office workers and nurses). And between 18% to 34% if you ask the doctors. Front office employees and doctors identified time spent:
- Waiting in wards for lab test information results
- Moving patients, and
- Delivery of specific care
As tasks that delivered the lowest return on time consumed.
According to another study, doctors invested 27% of their energy and time in treating patients and 49.2% of their time doing desk work related to credentialing, (which incorporates time utilizing the electric health record (EHR) framework).
Dissected more deeply, consider this: When the doctors were diagnosing patients, they were investing only 52.9% of their energy conversing with or examining the patients and 37.0% doing administrative work such as updating patient files instead of focusing on patient centered health care.
These numbers demonstrate how tasks like:
- Following up on appointments
- Managing no-shows
- Following up with insurance companies
- Managing delays between assigning a medical test and getting it done
- Time spent marketing a healthcare practice
- Time spent responding to irrelevant queries (unrelated to your practice)
- Time spent on administrative work like staff attendance, staff payroll, performance measurement and staffing
Many may (correctly) argue that this is a chicken-egg problem. Is the lack of a patient centered healthcare framework preventing doctors from focusing fully on their patients? Or is it that they are so consumed by administrative mundanities that they gradually lose sight of easy adaptive measures that could have pushed profitability and performance manifold?
An Achievable Process Turnaround
Any patient centered care model offers simple changes to administrative processes and tasks to streamline treatment and deliver the best healthcare value. For instance, by implementing a patient centered healthcare model, healthcare practitioners have succeeded in:
- Decreasing wait times in wards
- Reducing time searching for required equipment
- Using clinic data framework innovation for documentation, correspondence, and better facility planning.
The most significant, and generally reported advantage of establishing healthcare processes is increased effectiveness. In a patient centered healthcare environment, adding efficiencies and smoothening out processes directly affects the clinic’s capacity to accomplish high performance treatment and desirable results by following a patient centered care model. Processes for a patient centered health care approach offer a normalized framework for keeping up with management– limiting blunders and redundancies to assist staff with working easily and effectively and diminishing patient wait time by encouraging patient centered care.
Processes bring structure to the patient centered health care framework by organizing tasks into categories. They create routines for repetitive tasks which makes it easy for practitioners to make their patients the focal point and make performance transparent. Some of the processes which can be automated to reduce the burden on the practice and the medical front office are revenue cycle management, patient surveys, missed appointment notifications, and appointment reminders.
Processes in patient centered health care reflect within newer, simpler policies and reinforce approaches and methods to oversee the services being provided.
Lasting Gains, Starting With Improved Clinic Revenue Position
Patient centered care supports a clinic’s revenue streams too. According to one study, it can directly contribute between 1 to 3% improvement in the bottom line and 6% reduction in patient-readmission rates.
Employing effective processes within the patient centered approach can also lower medical expense from 0.6 to 1.9 percentage points, create 5 to 15% cost savings for some clinical care areas, and introduce 6 to 18% lower premiums based on network optimization.
And finally, enhanced transparency within processes prevents coding and diagnostic oversights, improving patient experience. Healthcare coding and consulting services in a patient centered care framework have been proven to maintain a:
- 98% quality threshold for billing and payment posting
- 6% claims denial rate ratio
- 95% first time pass ratio (FTPR)
- 2% (maximum) error rate tolerance (CERT)
It is very important for practitioners to use their time effectively and create workflows or processes which make the provision of a patient centered approach effective via professional healthcare consulting services. Supported by the right regulation and provisions, this may at last become a universal reality for the American healthcare industry.