Patient-centered care has been a central issue in discussion of healthcare quality. The attainment of high-quality care in medicine and healthcare is an integrative objective for healthcare planners, healthcare institutions, hospital departments, and all stakeholders. In its essence, the concept of patient-centered care grounds on the moral implications that assume deep respect for patients and personalized treatment. The concept places the patient in the center of the process of medical treatment. This means that the providers of medical treatment and healthcare services pay particular attention to individual peculiarities of every patient, honor their wishes, listen to their needs and concerns, inform them about best possible approaches and solutions, and are fully involved in their care. Hence, the concerns of and needs of an individual patient are at the center of the paradigm contrary to the previously applied approach of an evidence-based approach that focused on populations. At that, patient-centered care is about the science of particulars (Arora et al, 2009). This way, historically, patient-centered care has gradually substituted an evidence-based approach over the past few decades.
The synergy of patient-centered care consists in quality integration of personal, professional, and organizational relationships. The outcome is the patient-centeredness of patients, healthcare providers, and health systems. The engagement of patients as active participants is at the core of the concept. In their turn, healthcare system should educate and train informative, mindful, and empathic physicians to promote sound relationships with patients, encourage solidarity and empathy (Guyatt et al, 2004).
Currently applied changes such as advanced access scheduling and electronic health feature the quality of medical care of the 21st century. However, these progressive innovations should conflate with attaining patient-centered care. For example, the implementation of an electronic health record does not automatically achieve patient-centeredness unless it intensifies the patient-clinician relationship, furthers beneficial communication, makes patients better informed about their health, and encourages patient self-involvement in healthcare. In its turn, advanced access scheduling should conflate with timely familiar and caring presence to align with patient-centeredness.
Former practice of patient involvement in care assumed passive role of a patient. Patients were expected a physician’s quick asking: “Any questions?” while patients never anticipated a more active involvement. Now, with a patient-centered approach in focus, the physicians encourage active participation of patients. Apparently, patients do always have questions meaning that the role of physicians is now in making sure if everything is clear. At that, physicians should do their best to tailor the information individual needs of their patients (Epstein and Peters, 2009).
The philosophy of patient-centered care primarily assumes respect for patients’ preferences regardless of health outcomes. Further, a patient-centered care approach emphasizes physician’s sympathy to a patient’s worries about the seriousness and adverse effects of one’s disease. Overall the accomplishment of patient-centered care behaviors contributes to better outcomes. In the atmosphere of respect, involvement, and openness, physicians are more likely to mitigate patients’ distress over their illnesses and uncertainties.
In addition, the concept assumes a patient-centered interaction. Largely, patients care more about sound attitude and helpful information rather than medicines (drugs) as such. Finally, a patient-centered approach assumes coping with patient’s reports based on their subjective assessments of received treatment. Internal surveys show the level of understanding and mutual interaction between the clinicians and patients. Herewith, it is rather important to consider the issues of diversity and provide equal treatment to all the patients regardless of their background, color, literacy skills, English fluency, or any social disadvantages (Arora et al, 2009). Among the core challenges faced by patient-centered care relates to enabling the choice of patient treatment options. In the face of a serious illness, a patient should make a complex decision that is difficult for most patients. Further challenge is that many patients have limited access to insurance coverage and reimbursement, while this obstacle deters patients from access to necessary therapies and treatments vital to cope with their illnesses and diseases (Maizes, Rakel and Niemiec, 2009).
Overall, physicians’ patient-centeredness is a complex integrative approach that assumes advancement of individual patient treatment in both psychological and medical terms. While patients’ and physicians’ assessments of clinical treatment may differ because of subjectivity, the implementation of the patient-centeredness concept should be unbiased and non-prejudiced. At that, the coding of audio-recorded clinical encounters is rather helpful to encourage more active patient involvement.