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Software Solutions To Facilitate Truly Patient-Centered Care

Posted by Sue Ellen McKelvey on March 15, 2017

shutterstock_583308634.jpgThe ability to provide patient-centered care is key to the provision of high-quality care and better long term health outcomes for the individual. This fact is becoming more widely accepted throughout the healthcare industry. To Aid in developing patient-centered practices and processes, the Picker Institute, an organization that sponsored education and research in the field of patient-centered care, worked with researchers at Harvard University to identify practices that improve the patient experience. According to the Institute, researchers used relevant literature and focus groups that included patients, family members, physicians and hospital staff in defining seven primary dimensions of patient-centered care. In 1987, an eighth dimension was added, and the list published as the Eight Picker Principles of Patient Centered Care.

The result? We can refer to the Eight Picker Principles as a well-respected guideline that is used by providers and organizations working to create patient-centered healthcare relationships and healthcare settings. Here we briefly outline these principles and give some focus to how software tools featured in more fully-integrated healthcare IT platforms can assist with practical solutions.

Eight Picker Principles of Patient Centered Care:

1. Respect for Patients’ Values, Preferences, and Expressed Needs – Patients want to feel involved, informed and respected as individuals.
2. Coordination and integration of care – Fragmented care increases feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness.
3. Information, communication and education – Patients want clear, forthcoming information on their diagnosed conditions, prognoses, progress expectations, treatment and care details, as well as education that assists in better self-care and self-health promotion.
4. Physical comfort – This includes effective personal assistance and care, pain management, and privacy accommodation, as well as appropriate accessibility to family and friends.
5. Emotional support and alleviation of fear and anxiety – Patients need appropriate support from caregivers for anxiety and fear associated with medical conditions and treatment.
6. Involvement of family and friends – Recognition and support of the role of family and friends play in emotional and social support, as well as their role as caregivers and advocates.
7. Continuity and transition – Patients need detailed information on medical, self-care, and follow-up needs, as well as information on available support resources.
8. Access to care – Patients want easy access to care, a clear process for referrals and ease in scheduling appointments.

How Healthcare Software tools can help:

Effectively addressing patient needs, as defined by these Eight principles, depends on a foundation of effective communication, data collection and data sharing between healthcare providers, patients ( and or their supportive family members/carers) and as needed across the continuum of care with other providers involved in their care program. A well-designed patient portal provides resources to each healthcare consumer online; a facility that places them firmly in the center of their own healthcare journey. These portals offer 24/7 online access to the personal health journey including the health records as agreed with the provider/clinic team. By embracing the viewing of these essential items by the patients, each can review information, monitor their progress, question their test results, engage in treatment decisions online and/or agree with a projected 'wellness plan'.

Patients can also contribute their perspective and compliance into their online record directly, saving time in the consulting room for informed consultations. This level of self- reporting and self-monitoring is supported with pro-active self-help information/education. Thus this interchange online of information from the clinician and back from the client, improves the relationship before each clinical session. The physician can look at the online file uploads and after that review, be prepared as needed either to encourage or express concerns; providing feedback on a patient experience/comments online. All from within their busy day whilst in the clinical screen as they consult the patient face to face. Patients themselves , are empowered knowing that they are heard; they are able to express themselves directly, in their own words, instead of having their thoughts, questions and concerns interpreted or written by staff.

Secure messaging allows patients to contact and have their queries heard directly, in their own words and with a fully-logged trail of questions and answers in their clinical file. Patient portals software makes personalized online health education possible, keeping patients well-informed and more confident participation in shared decision-making. Online booking and management adds ease to the patient journey as they interact and self-manage many simple areas such as appointment-making. A well-developed portal can provide for video-conferencing/telehealth offerings- providing an easier access to professional advice and care.

Fundamental to quality healthcare IT platforms – are the tools of patient engagement and empowerment. A well developed patient portal helps address most concerns laid out in the Picker principles – and its collected data can be mined and included in the development of care models that are truly patient-centered.

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Topics: Patient Portal Software

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