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Putting Patient-Centered Care Into Perspective

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, May 2, 2011

Now I felt rushed and irked. I basically told them "Too bad, I need time."

The physicians were clearly not pleased, but they did give me the time. Now the difference between me and many patients is I didn't just nod my head pretending that I understood what was about to happen, and then sign the form. Many patients do this because they are dazed about their situation and they feel rushed. It's an awful feeling to be at your most vulnerable, then to have unfamiliar terms tossed at you, and then to be hurried into a decision that impacts your life. 

The Beryl Institute, an organization advocating for better patient experiences within the healthcare system, last week released a study of more than 790 hospital executives that looked at the state of the patient experience in the nation's hospitals and identified the greatest road blocks to implementing change. 

Patient experience/patient satisfaction ranked number two (21%) in terms of top priorities for the C-suite, second only to quality/patient safety (31%), according to the study. Despite its prominence on the hospital executive priority list, nearly (73%) of executives do not have a formal definition for patient experience. Ergo, many are addressing the issue tactically, with the top three priorities being:

  1. Noise reduction
  2. Discharge process and instructions
  3. Patient rounding

Interestingly, while executives don't feel they've gotten their arms around this 900-pound gorilla, nearly 61% of respondents felt positive or very positive about their progress in addressing the issue.

Let me summarize my interpretation of these findings in one sentence: We don't know what patient-centered care means nor do we know how to approach it, but things are going great.

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1 comments on "Putting Patient-Centered Care Into Perspective"


stefani (5/20/2011 at 10:57 AM)
Great article but a little naive. Patient centered care DOES require a major cultural shift and that includes the physicians. Unfortunately the reality - especially is small rural, community hospitals - precludes any effort on the part of the physicians to start thinking of their practice behaviors from the patient's perspective. And its typically supported by hospital execs who want to keep the beds filled. As long as physicians control the sandbox, they pretty much run the playground. The successful CEO - and I admit there are plenty - is the one who agrees to share the sandbox to keep the playground running smoothly.