Market forces are pushing health systems to rethink their approach to defining and encouraging patient-centered care.
The term patient-centered care, first coined by the Institute of Medicine in 2001 and defined as ensuring patients guide their own clinical decisions, has become commonplace in healthcare. But CEOs of top health systems say the term and approaches to providing it need a revamp in order to address evolving consumer expectations.
According to results from Modern Healthcare's most recent CEO Power Panel Survey, nearly 65% of the healthcare executives have changed how they define patient-centered care over the past five years, and they overwhelmingly assign multiple components to the definition. Most CEOs responded that the term means more than just involving patients in their care decisions. It includes ensuring patients have access to services, care is coordinated and patients are provided education materials and resources.
Health system executives have started to re-evaluate how they engage and interact with patients in their care as consumer expectations increasingly demand more personalized and less fragmented healthcare experiences.
The new mindset is a major change from previous years, said Jim Hinton, CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health in Texas. “Historically, health systems have been very focused on the clinical interaction that a patient had in an ambulatory space or a hospital room, and now we have broadened it to be anything that touches a patient in any way, including ways in which we can anticipate the needs of patients to make their entire care process more efficient and easier for them,” he said.
CEOs are taking various approaches to address the new demands, but technology is a big one. The vast majority (94.4%) said they are making investments in technology to improve patient care. About 97% responded they have deployed mobile apps to engage and interact with patients. Further, 80.6% said they have invested in apps for providers, while 88.9% use electronic health records and 47.2% use wearables.