Monday, May 18, 2015

Patient Centered Care

 Patient Centered - or Not

Patient-centered care supports active involvement of patients and their families in decision-making about individual options for treatment.
We all believe in patient-centered care, or do we?  Maybe there is another side to this we, patient safety advocates, patient safety healthcare professionals and anyone who says that they support patient centeredness hasn’t heard.
A dear friend and physician has been a long- time supporter of patient’s involvement in their care.  This doctor is well known for spending more time with patients than the average office visit.  Patients have this doctor’s cell phone number and there are handouts in this office with information about Ask Me 3, Patient Safety Tips and other patient safety literature. But, in a recent conversation, this physician tells the story of a patient who decided to not receive a procedure that the physician agreed could wait.  After all, if the patient doesn’t want to have a test or procedure, that can probably wait, isn’t that patient centeredness?

What happens when that test might have been a life-saving?  Should a physician be expected to spend extra time trying to convince a patient to have a procedure or take a test that  is important but can wait because that's what the patient wanted?  There must be a yearning for some medical professionals to go back to the days when a doctor says what a patient should do and the patient does it.