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Patient-Centered Care Redistributes Responsibility

Betty A. Marton for HealthLeaders Media, May 8, 2012

This article appears in the April 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

It was a wonderful and rare accomplishment. In 2008, a 23-year-old woman with severe cystic fibrosis successfully carried and delivered a healthy, full-term baby girl at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, NY. Despite that major achievement, the complex regimen of daily medications that Christina Marie McDonald needed to manage her disease created challenges.

"On the maternity ward, no one understood anything about CF," says Ruben Cohen, MD, director of the adult CF program and codirector of the asthma center for the 888-bed tertiary care teaching hospital. "She didn't receive her medications when she needed them."

The circumstances of McDonald's delivery served to highlight an issue that hospital personnel had already begun to grapple with for adult patients with CF: how to deliver the same quality of care in the hospital that patients routinely administer themselves at home.

"After that experience, the patient's father wrote a letter asking, ‘Why does the hospital tie our hands and put these routine measures in the hands of busy medical personnel when the patients and their families know the illness very well and are experts in their own care?'" explains Fatima Jaffrey, MD, director of outcomes research at LIJ Medical Center. 

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5 comments on "Patient-Centered Care Redistributes Responsibility"


Steve Wilkins (5/21/2012 at 10:12 AM)
Let's be very clear here...patient centered care does not mean giving the patient information or teach tjem self care skills. Patient centered care begings with providers tailoring what they say and do to the patient's health perspective, e.g., health beliefs, concerns, experiences, etc. Patient-Centered Care Begins With High Quality Doctor-Patient Communications http://wp.me/pGXmn-so

John Burik (5/15/2012 at 7:53 AM)
I'm very much for client- or patient-centered care. The potential downside is when the corporate types begin seeing the profit in this and start cutting appropriately trained and licensed staff with the rationale that we're "empowering" patients.

Deb (5/10/2012 at 8:52 PM)
This is an interesting article, well beyond CF. With all the talk about wanting more "enagaged" patients (which typically means people who do what a provider tells them to do); as this article points out when patients are "enaged" and know what they need for their well-being, they're met with resistence. What if instead of "engagement" we were seeking more of a partnership?