Are YOU Receiving Patient-Centered Care?

Are YOU Receiving Patient-Centered Care?

While the U.S. has unrivaled status in many areas, health care is not one of them.  In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the United States 37th in health care in the world.  In the years 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010, the Commonwealth Fund, an organization that conducts independent research on health care issues and provides grants to improve health care practice and policies, completed more studies.

These studies compared the United States to six other industrialized countries  (Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) on measures of health system performance.  Performance was measured in five areas:  quality, efficiency, access to care, equity, and the ability to lead long, healthy, productive lives.  Guess what?  Despite spending the most money on health care, the United States ranks dead last.  As a result, governing bodies are insisting that hospitals improve care by moving toward patient-centered care as well as other quality improvement measures.  The surveys you receive after visiting a doctor or medical facility are designed to measure patient satisfaction and the level of patient-centered care.  Increasingly, medical provider reimbursement will be based on these scores.  Accordingly, everyone in health care is talking about patient-centered care.

Here’s a simple definition of patient-centered care: “Nothing about me without me” (Delbanco, 2001). The landmark report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), however, makes the definition a bit more complicated.  This report defines patient-centered care as “care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and [ensures] that patient values guide all clinical decisions” (Institute of Medicine, 2001).

According to IOM, patient-centeredness is one of six aims for quality improvement in health care.  The others are safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.

So….do your part in improving health care. Fill out your survey!

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