5 steps to create a more patient-centered practice

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With the increased emphasis on patient satisfaction and quality of care, a goal for many practices is to create a patient-centered organization.

But in reality, practices must take a look at whether they are really patient-focused or physician-focused, according to an article in Physicians Practice. For example, are office hours set up to meet the needs of the patient or physician?

To become more patient-centered, practices can take the following five steps, according to Owen Dahl, a medical practice-management specialist and author:

Deliver what the patient wants. First you need to know what that is, which you can determine through patient surveys and focus groups. Respond to patient feedback and make improvements to your operation. Check for feedback on social media sites and respond to any complaints by fixing problems.

Focus on patient-physician relationships. You don’t want patients to feel like a number, rushed through a visit and not able to get their questions answered. Physicians must effectively communicate with patients and show empathy, which can translate into higher patient satisfaction scores and improved outcomes.

Make sure staff members respond to patient questions. Remember that your office is a team and everyone, not just physicians, must be aware of patient needs. Staff need to provide effective communication and good customer service.

Look for and remove obstacles to patient-centered care. Those obstacles might be poor bedside manner, not enough time for patients, or fragmented care.

Know your patients. Tailor care to individuals, as patients are different and they may prefer to take a more active or passive role in decision-making.

- read the article