Realizing patient-centered care.pdf - Realizing Patient-Centered Care Putting Patients in the Center Not the Middle NANCY J STEIGER AND AGNES BALOG •

Realizing patient-centered care.pdf - Realizing...

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Realizing Patient-Centered Care: Putting Patients in the Center, Not the Middle NANCY J. STEIGER AND AGNES BALOG S U M M A R Y • In these challenging times, healthcare executives must make difficult decisions when setting goals and allocating resources within their organizations. Patient-centered care means putting the patient in the center, not in the middle. Hospitals should view the world through the patient's eyes and organize care around the patient. Investing in patient-centered care as an expression of mission, vision, and values is the right thing to do and has the potential to increase patient volumes and revenue. Realizing patient-centered care requires shared understanding, top leadership that can own and embrace the vision, engaged caregivers, and involved patients. There is an undeniable element of customer service in patient-centered care: Lessons from the retail industry can take us beyond merely meeting expectations to exceeding them. Nancy J. Steiger, FACHE, is regional CEO and chief mission officer at Peace- Health St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington. Agnes Balog is patient experience coordinator at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. NANCY J. STEIGER AND ACNES BALOC • 15
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Getting board members and the executive team to buy in is essential if the message of patient- centered care is to pass through the hierarchy to the place where it becomes real: the front line. INTRODUCTION Lately, times have been tough. The finan- cial challenges ofthe past two years have left an indelible mark on healthcare in the United States. Many of us have struggled personally and professionally to survive in an inhospitable, uncertain climate. Those of us in senior leadership have had to ask our front line, the care- givers who make up the heart and soul of our orga- nizations, to do more with less. It has strained the cul- tures we nurtured into exis- tence with hard work and dedication. These cultures are based on collaboration, commitment to quality, and other values that define us. However, the strongest cul- tures have always kept the pafient at the core of their mission, vision and values. Patient-centered care is not a new idea. Nevertheless, enough divergent defini- tions fioat around that the concept has become almost nebulous. This article defines patient-centered care as a way of organizing care around the patient. Instead of putting the patient in the cen- ter, we frequently put patients in the mid- dle, forcing them to navigate a fractured system where they can easily fall through the cracks. We have to look at our world through the patient's eyes and organize their care from their perspective. An Institute of Medicine (2001) report. Crossing the Quality Chasm, listed patient- centered care as one ofthe six aims ofthe healthcare system. It called attention to the fragmented and complex nature ofthe cur- rent healthcare environment that the aver- age person is expected to navigate. It is hard to believe that the case for pafient-cen- tered care needs to be made among the
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