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Physicians Must Make Patients Partners in Pursuit of Health

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, October 20, 2011

For example, medical records were once sealed from patients like secret CIA documents. Even now, patients admitted to hospitals see their possessions put in little bags, and removed, "like you are in jail," Frampton says.

At the same time "we are looking at patients and families and challenging them to be better partners in their care," Frampton says. It's not going to be easy, she concedes.

To help ease transitions of care, Planetree initiated Patient-Centered Lean, a spin-off of the Lean production process for improved efficiencies that health systems have used, modeled after the Toyota system. The patient centered approach aims to involve patients and their families throughout the process of their care, from meetings with physicians and staff to evaluating care post-hospitalization, Frampton says.

The idea, as Planetree notes in planning documents, is about "improving "patient satisfaction, quality and experiences of care, and improving the caregiver workplace satisfaction and engagement."

While hospitals focus on improving patient involvement in their care, so are physicians. Ultimately, patients must become partners with their physicians and lay out a care framework.

Too many primary care physicians don't press patients to take care of themselves, says William H. Bestermann Jr., MD, medical director for medical home quality at the Holston Medical Group in Kingston, TN. Generally, "primary care physicians mean well and don't do well," Bestermann says. "If you talk to doctors and ask why they don't achieve these things they'll say, "My patients aren't compliant enough and they don't do anything I tell them."

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1 comments on "Physicians Must Make Patients Partners in Pursuit of Health"


Michael Cylkowski (10/27/2011 at 3:43 PM)
Whoever solves the non-compliance problem may get the Nobel prize for economics. Why do we choose to do or not to do the most rational action? I think the dilemma is called 'cognitive dissonance'. We know what the right choice is but we choose to do differently. We often fail to account for the value of our choices. Who's to say that sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee and the WSJ in the early morning is less valuable to me than the benefit I might derive from a good workout? Too often we make one dimensional choices to satisfy our immediate needs. Not until you can get me to realize the value of thinking long-term do I get out of bed earlier and go for that run and then enjoy my coffee on the patio. Your article reminded me of Atul Gawande chastising us in the New Yorker about what did we expect, for so long we wanted patients to be obedient, deferential, and fearful of the doctor's ire and now we give them choices? And Barry Schwartz' book, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less" is an excellent study on how we can get overwhelmed by having to choose. If you've ever had an elderly loved-one discharged from the hospital, you quickly learn to ask, "Mom, did you take your meds yet?" Remind them to do it now while you wait. The case workers, discharge planners, and home health providers tell me that non-compliance in meds is one of the biggest reasons for readmits and easiest to solve by other family members calling daily.