Patient centeredness entails exhibiting the qualities of compassion, empathy and responding to the needs and values of an individual patient. It also involves interpreting to the patient all the information on the medical service they are receiving. Physicians are also required to give patients information about other alternative medical procedures or other facilities that can offer more specialized care (AHRQ 169).
In order to improve transparency in health care, a lot of work and dedication is necessary from all the medical staff. The first stage in improving is planning where the goal identification occurs, and a strategy is formed to achieve the goal. The first step in planning is assembling a team that comprises members that have knowledge on areas of improvement; in this case, they may be the doctors who head different departments in the hospitals. The members will have useful input in the planning process, and they can tell whether the feasibility of the stated goal.
At this stage, stating clearly what you are aiming to achieve is necessary. The aim is for medical practitioners to have better relationships with their patients and to offer them all the necessary information they require to make informed decisions. Knowing the current situation so that you can know which areas to focus most attention is also necessary. For instance, if there have been negative feedback from the patients or if the hospital has gotten sued for patient negligence. The most important part of the improvement process is to identify causes of the problems and ways to improve. For example, the medical staff may not appreciate the importance of establishing good relationships with their patients. (MDH 3).
One of the ways to achieve transparency in the health care industry is to inform all medical practitioners of how important it is to be compassionate when responding to patient’s needs. Patients should receive help to transition and doctors should simplify things for them to provide care for themselves even when away from the hospital. They should also have access to their primary physician if need arises and the physician should make their patients a priority.
Ways to measure the success of the improvements made to know whether the set goals have gotten achieved are necessary. The success can get measured from the patient’s feedback or even with the growth of recommendations the hospital gets from its clients. The hospital can also carry out research in order to find out if the patients have noticed any changes with the care they are receiving. The medical staff can also get asked to give reviews on how the improvement has impacted their health care giving whether in positive or negative ways. When the plan has undergone careful analysis, it can now get implemented.
The “do” step is just simply implementing the already set plan. In some case, it is best if the implementation is carried out in phases that ensure all the involved parties transition smoothly. After implementation, the outcomes get monitored to check whether it was worthwhile and the success it has brought. For instance, the hospital can check to see if the number of legal issues has dropped and at what rate. They can also view the patient’s feedback to see if the patients are now satisfied with the services offered. Also, any problems that have resulted due to the improvements should get noted and all other areas that can need improvement. Such as if one of the departments in the hospital has not taken up the implemented changes.
Also, negative impacts or complaints from the patients should be noted, and ways to improve further should be established (3).
In the last step, “act”, one determines whether the strategy should get implemented fully. Based on the feedback and the success of the improvements, the decision to fully implement the changes can get made. If there is a better strategy idea than the one implemented, this where that idea is considered (3). The four steps of improvement should get repeated because the goal is to make any necessary improvement. Once repeated, it is possible to identify other areas in need of improvement or that should not get changed.
Needs are Anticipated
Planning for patient’s needs ensures a smooth flow when patients come to receive their treatment. The medical staff should check the patient’s schedules and try to identify the patient’s needs even before the set date. The Institute of Healthcare Improvement page asserts that planning gives the staff time to prepare the treatment the patient requires and any other needs that might arise during their visit.
Improvements can happen in anticipating patient’s need using the Plan Do Study Act process. The planning step involves identifying areas where changes can occur. One of the improvements includes ensuring that the medical practitioners plan for their patient’s visit beforehand. If possible, the practitioners should also obtain all the required information before the appointment day. Prior preparation ensures that on the day of the appointment, all focus is on the patient’s needs. It is also important to make notes that will be important for the preparation of the next visit. The hospital can also encourage the staff to create a reminder system for their patient’s appointments.
Hospitals should also prepare for natural disasters such as storms or earthquakes. Some of the tragedies happen to get predicted by the meteorological department, but it is also necessary that hospitals prepare in case they occur. It is bad when a tragedy occurs and causes fatal injuries especially if the medical facilities cannot take care of patients. The success of these improvements can also get measured by the kind of feedback given by the patients. Patients can be asked to review the kind of health care they receive and whether they felt their physician was ready for an appointment.
Once a strategy has gotten established to make improvements, and it has passed it can then get implemented and its results monitored. In the “study” step, the results of the improvements are monitored and analyzed to determine if they are of value and whether the strategy deserves to be fully implemented. Areas of improvements can also get identified during this phase. For instance, the practitioners may complain that prior scheduling is a lot of work for them. A solution to this can be hiring qualified staff to deal only with the prior arrangements or delegating the work to other people (MDH 3).
The last phase of this cycle is determining whether the integration of the strategy into the hospital should occur or if consideration of a different strategy should take place. It is important that thorough research takes place before making this decision. The Plan Do Study Act cycle still continues since other areas for improvements may arise.
In an article by Wolf, the health care industry has started to make the health care process heartless and mechanical. Medical practitioners are more concerned with implementing standards and requirements that are best for them and not for the patients. Improvements are necessary to ensure that the patient’s needs are always a priority for all practitioners.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). National Healthcare Disparities Report: Patient Centeredness, 2010. Print. 2014 Nov. 22. Retrieved from http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/nhdr10/nhdr10.pdf
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). PDSA: Plan-Do-Study-Act. Rapid Cycle Improvement, 2014. Web. 2014 Nov. 22. Retrieved from http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/opi/qi/toolbox/pdsa.html
Wolf, Jason A. Whose Experience is it anyway? The Berly Institute Patient Experience Blog, 2012. Web. 2014 Nov. 22. Retrieved from http://www.theberylinstitute.org/blogpost/593434/138361/Whose-experience-is-it-anyway