Establishing patient-centered care within healthcare systems

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"Respect, compassion and responsiveness to individuals are increasingly used as a key indicators of quality of care, and are essential components of improving healthcare systems."

- Werner Satter, General Manager Experience Solutions

Over the last decade, there has also been an increasing focus on supporting people to be more involved in their care and in tailoring services around the needs of individuals. Bundling all of these initiatives of empathy, individualization and patient-involvement is the term ‘Person Centered Care’; including efforts not only engaging patients but also their family members and caregivers.

It is now widely recognized that person-centered care can be used to define and improve outcomes and indeed to focus health and care resources. And with good reason; when patients have a positive experience with healthcare staff and services, all stakeholders benefit – patients, healthcare professionals, the provider organization, and the healthcare system.

Respectful treatment, adequate information and communication, respect for autonomy and involvement, clean and curative environments all make patients’ experience positive and are also important for providing good care. A vast amount of research demonstrates that good patient and staff experience leads to good health outcomes related to clinical effectiveness and safety as well as patient loyalty.

Expectations of healthcare professionals with respect to their employing organization are changing. They expect their organizations to support them in providing high-quality care and a good experience to their patients. They also want healthy and efficient workplace environments that enhance both the well-being of patients, and their own well-being. And it is easy to understand how the well-being of health professionals can impact good patient outcomes.

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Philips Ambient Experience transformed radiology services at the new Noah's Ark Children's Hospital for Wales by creating a unique and immersive re-imagining of the traditional imaging department.

"The key to establishing exceptional and differentiated quality of care – whilst improving clinical and financial results at the same time – is to take into account the perspectives of both those who provide care and those who are cared for."

Our philosophy

This sounds very sensible and straightforward, but our experience is that it remains difficult for many healthcare organizations to break away from an “efficiency-only” approach to excellence. In our experience consultancy practice we recognize that the experience of patients is as important as clinical effectiveness and safety indicators of high quality care. This requires both an understanding of the importance of human experience of care and care-giving, and a strong dedication to spreading this philosophy across the entire organization.

1. Promote patient well-being

Provide patients with the physical and emotional comfort they need.

Making patients feel physically and emotionally comfortable in a healthcare setting is one of the most important challenges that many healthcare providers face today. To this end, we use a combination of different types of intervention that provide specific and controlled visual and auditory stimuli, depending on the specific situation and need.

2. Facilitate patient and staff communication

Support human contact to improve patient cooperation, satisfaction and loyalty.

Effective and sensitive communication is an essential aspect of healthcare. Yet one of the challenges of modern healthcare is to preserve this vital aspect of caregiving in an environment that is increasingly dominated by market forces and practice which is standardized rather than personalized. For patients it does not only matter that healthcare providers give adequate information (cognitive care), but also how clinicians and nurses communicate with them (emotional care). Depending on the specific need, our solutions promote both improved staff-patient interaction and the transfer of specific knowledge from staff to patient.

3. Increase patient empowerment

Involve patients in their care and give them a sense of control.

Allowing patients to make and take part in decisions in their healthcare environment, can give back some control to patients, who often feel marginalized by their lack of involvement in decision-making. This need for control in the healthcare environment can be answered by including ways to give control to the patient and by supporting care providers to facilitate this. This may involve solutions as simple as personalized room design in which patients can choose lighting color, intensity or theme. Shared decision-making tools, patient agendas and applications are also developed to support ownership, involvement, and communication between patients and healthcare providers.

4. Improve hospital flow

Optimize the working environment and operational efficiency.

Optimizing the work environment frees up time for health professionals to care for their patients better. Care layout impacts the amount of walking for nursing staff, and improving the layout saves time which translates into more time spent on patient-care activities and interaction with family members. We apply experience-based co-create techniques to combine staff expertise, patient experience and design knowledge resulting in optimized healthcare lay-out, processes and workflow – and an improved experience for patients, families and staff.

About the author

Werner Satter

Werner Satter

General Manager Experience Solutions

Werner and his team help hospitals and healthcare systems develop people-centric care solutions to help improve the quality of care delivery. His expertise spans the fields of research, design innovation, new business development, and marketing. Werner has previous experience as a strategic innovation consultant, conducting design innovation programs. He is an acclaimed speaker at healthcare conferences on the topics of healthcare design, people-centric environments, as well as enhancing the patient, family, and staff experience. Werner holds a master's of economics with a specialization in marketing, economic psychology, and sociology.

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