3 pathways to patient-centered care

A new report highlights the ways hospitals can identify and address sources of "avoidable suffering" and ultimately improve the patient experience.

Press Ganey's 2014 Strategic Insights report, "Reducing Suffering: The Path to Patient-Centered Care," presents three levels of analytics that improve patient care and increase engagement. To achieve patient-centered care, hospitals can no longer just focus on treating patients' illnesses, according to the report. Instead, they must also address patient suffering, which involves treating the physical side effects of illness as well as mental ones, such as fear, anxiety, confusion and frustration.

Providers must take steps to eliminate a patient's avoidable suffering, which is associated with healthcare dysfunction, such as a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, according to the report. But they also must attempt to mitigate inherent suffering that is associated with a treatment or diagnosis, such as postoperative pain or loss of function.

To start, organizations should focus on the following areas: 

  • System-based analysis to identify process defects and further investigate variations in care that lead to a less reliable experience.

  • Individual physician performance to identify doctors who have trouble retaining patients and obtaining patient loyalty. The report suggests organizations build mentoring programs, establish behavior-changing compensation plans and create team-oriented, patient-centric delivery systems to support these physicians.

  • Employee and physician engagement to involve nurses as well as doctors in the process. The report calls for clinicians to follow a five-step process: Assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation to review with patients, families and healthcare colleagues.  

"The healthcare industry is driven by the passion of individuals who have an undeniable drive to develop new approaches to better care," Patrick T. Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey, said in the report. "The patient experience is increasingly the focus of this innovation, and it is clear that the only way to improve healthcare is to put the patient at the center of our system. By acknowledging, understanding, measuring and mitigating suffering, we can revolutionize the way we approach the patient experience."

To learn more:
- here's the report (registration required)