When I saw a link posted on LinkedIn re: Patient-Centered Care Awareness month, I thought this is great! I recently attended a 2 day conference in the Toronto area that focused on Patient Experience and the importance of healthcare making a transition or shift that involves the patient in every aspect of healthcare.
I am currently reading the book, Journey to Wellness: Designing a People-Centered Health System for Canadians by Dr. R. Vaughan Glover. It is a good book that discusses why the healthcare system needs to change and adapt and ‘update’ to modern times, where the patient should be involved every step of the way. Some institutions and organizations may resist this need to change, but in reality that would be a mistake. The current system where the health professionals know best does not work in today’s world. With the technological advancements available through social media, the internet, instant messaging and texting; there are no secrets in a sense. The patient is informed and does the necessary research. Whether something good or bad happens, it is shared instantly through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, texting and other social media avenues.
So, back to Patient-Centered Care; what does this mean? To me and from what I heard at the National Forum on Patient Experience conference, it means the patients are the highest priority and should be involved in any decision-making process whether it is in healthcare, community, private practice, volunteer opportunities or as a consumer in retail.
Organizations, institutions, and the various healthcare settings need to focus on and involve patients/clients. Some may ask how does one do this? Ask, listen, reflect, involve patients/clients/consumers in solutions. Ideas need to be generated and then the needed and necessary changes have to occur. After that comes the, ‘how is it working’ process which should include surveys and telephone calls to further initiate dialogue and discuss other needed changes.
Everyone should be willing to listen to and involve clients/consumers and patients, as without them, none of us would be employed.
What are your thoughts? How will you raise awareness of a particular issue? How will you advocate for change?
By Victoria Brewster, MSW