Overcoming barriers to patient-centered cardiology care: AHA

The American Heart Association released a scientific statement that describes essential elements of patient-centered care and how to overcome barriers depending on patient characteristics.

According to the statement, published April 11 in Circulation, the three essential elements are shared decision-making, medication management and patient-oriented outcomes. 

"Patient-centered care means seeing the patient as a person and being respectful of their beliefs, preferences and values," Michael Goldfarb, MD, chair of the scientific statement writing committee and associate professor of cardiology at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, said in an April 11 association news release. "Patient-centered care combines the health care professional's expertise with consideration of the patient's health priorities. It involves empowering patients to make informed decisions by providing information and developing an active partnership among the patient, family and the health care team. Patient-centered care does not mean that patients can choose what they want, when they want."

Here are considerations to overcome barriers to patient-centered care based on patient characteristics:

  • People from underrepresented and historically underserved races: Effective patient-centered care could involve assessing for social determinants of health and  providing culturally and linguistically competent care through multidisciplinary teams.

  • Older adults: Care should consider age-associated risks when evaluating the pros and cons of medications and interventions.

  • Women: Care to prevent and treat pregnancy-related heart issues and care at time of menopause should be considered.

  • Individuals with behavioral and mental health disorders: Care should include behavioral health services in addition to specialized cardiovascular care.

  • Adults with congenital heart disease: Patient-centered care can help them transition from pediatric into adult care and face decisions about high-level medical and surgical treatment.

  • People with physical disabilities: Systems should address inadequate access to preventive care and treatment for heart disease.

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