Health systems are broadening their definition of patient-centered care, sometimes extending the concept beyond clinical care by replacing the term “patient” with a seemingly more holistic “consumer” or “person.”
Patient-centered care, a term popularized by the Institute of Medicine in 2001, initially described an approach to care that allows patients to guide their own clinical decisions. Now its definition has expanded—health systems see it as encompassing not just clinical care, but also patient experience, including how encounters stack up to patients’ expectations from other consumer-facing industries and, subsequently, whether patients view their care as worth the expensive price tag.
But even as the term’s definition changes, health systems are in general agreement about the concept’s continued importance, according to Modern Healthcare’s most recent Power Panel survey of top healthcare CEOs. Nearly 70% of CEOs said they’ve made changes to the structure of their organization to be more patient-centered, and more than half have someone formally in charge of leading those efforts.
There’s a financial component, too, as health systems are facing increased competition for patients as new entrants to the industry—such as virtual care companies and retail-clinic chains—are taking away some of the ambulatory market share.