Why Patient-Centered Care Is So Important
HealthMay 08, 2019

Why patient-centered care is so important

We know that hospitals can be frightening places to people who don't spend a lot of time there. So, as a result, healthcare professionals must practice patient-centered care, in which they anticipate the anxiety or fear that patients sometimes experience when receiving care and take responsibility for comforting and reassuring their patients at every step, making sure the patient is at the center of everything they do.

Even though the patient care is constantly evolving, along with technology and information delivery, patient expectations are not. Patients always expect a high-quality experience, so a culture of patient-centered care isn't a "nice to have," it's a "need to have."

The importance of a patient-centered care model

In a patient-centered care model, it is important for patients to always be in complete control when it comes to making decisions about their own care and treatment. Clinicians are there to inform, advise and support, but it is ultimately up to the patient to determine what course of action they will take. Therefore, a patient needs to fully understand the procedures and treatments they will undergo, and clinicians must aim to make them as knowledgeable and comfortable as possible, especially when treating them for a complicated or painful illness or injury.

The value of evidence-based practice

Evidence-based practice is a widely used problem-solving approach in the clinical setting, but it's also crucial to delivering patient-centered care. It integrates clinical expertise with the latest and best research evidence, along with known patient values, in order to deliver the best possible patient care.

One of the most important elements of evidence-based practice in nursing is taking into account the needs and wants of the individual patient. We need to understand what's most important to our patients; what are his/her preferences when it comes to treatment options, and how does he/she define quality of life? All of these things come together to make up the definition of evidence-based healthcare.

The link between evidence-based nursing and value-based purchasing

In the U.S., hospital reimbursement is shifting from a pay-for-service to a pay-for-performance model also known as value-based purchasing (VBP). In a VBP model, healthcare providers are incentivized by either private insurance, self-pay, or federally or state-funded programs such as Veteran's Affairs, Medicare or Medicaid, based on reaching certain performance measures.

The measures for value-based reimbursements range from hospital readmissions to patient engagement. So employing the evidence-based practice of taking the patient's needs and wants into account positively impacts patient engagement, and thus reimbursements.

The goal of value-based purchasing models

The goal of a VBP program is to standardize healthcare processes through best practices. And although the U.S. healthcare system is unique from others around the world, the overall goal of healthcare is the same - to provide the highest quality, most cost-effective evidenced-based care that improves patient outcomes.

So, in the end, it's important to never lose sight of the fact that all patients deserve to be respected and must to be at the center of focus during every healthcare encounter. Patients expect nurses and other healthcare professionals to be knowledgeable, competent and confident, but also kind and understanding too. Nurses are ambassadors for their institutions, the profession and for their patients.

For more about patient-centered care, watch Reimagining the Future: The Culture of Caring presented by From the Desk of the Chief Nurses on nursingcenter.com.

This week's blog post was written by our chief nurse, Anne Dabrow Woods, DNP, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC, AGACNP-BC, FAAN.

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