5 ways your hospital can benefit from patient-centered care

The patient-centered care model is here to stay. More than a trend, industry experts and policy advocates everywhere have touted it as the strategy that will fix the healthcare system once and for all.

There is no arguing that today, the model benefits patients who become more empowered and receive better care. The big question is: what about hospital executives? What positive impact could value-based healthcare possibly have compared to the traditional volume-based business model? These are very important questions to answer because without the support of hospital administrators, patient-centered care will remain nothing but a grand idea.

Here are at least 5 reasons why you should implement patient-centered care in your hospital, all of them backed by healthcare researchers and business analysts:

Attain better financial performance

A hospital system that is guided by the needs of patients and families becomes significantly more efficient. Patient-centered care actively engages all stakeholders and leads to decreased overall expenses. It reduces waste of a hospital's material and staff resources through making fewer process delays, maximizing patient educational efforts and decreasing diagnostic tests and referrals. In fact, research cited in the Gallup Management Online Journal has shown that patient and family engagement obtained through a more patient-centered care system consistently improves hospital performance and business outcomes, including long-term earnings.

Improve market share

US patients are becoming well informed about patient-centered care and seek hospitals that employ such a system. They expect higher quality service and more value-per-cost. Patient-centered hospitals therefore gain competitive advantage over those which stick to using traditional methods. Service providers such as the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio significantly increased their market share by integrating patient-centered systems into their business model. This result is consistent with survey findings revealing that 40% of patient-respondents were eager to switch to a hospital that is more patient-centered.

Increase employee satisfaction

Hospitals implementing a more patient-centered approach successfully improve employee satisfaction and retention. A more efficient system decreases employee burnout, improves staff relationships, and enhances patient-caretaker interactions. Improved retention contributes to high-quality staff, less training costs and decreased expenses due to inefficient practices. The Bronson Methodist Hospital in Michigan found that their patient-centered approach led to decreased nurse turnover, saving them about $3 million over 5 years.

Pull up your hospital's ranking

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey, known to provide a reliable ranking of the best hospitals in the country, incorporates a lot of patient-centered measures in its survey form. It has metrics on patient-provider communication, quality of relationship, effective pain medication system, sufficient discharge information and improved patient health outcomes. Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland found a significant increase on their CAHPS survey scores after implementing communication strategies based on the patient-centered model of care.

Improve patient health outcomes

The best reason for implementing a patient-centered model in your hospital is that it is the right thing to do. Experience, expertise and scientific knowledge all support this model because it has consistently demonstrated improved patient health outcomes. Patients receiving this kind of care are happier, more satisfied, heal more quickly, are in less pain and stay healthier. It improves quality of life. If such genuine achievements can be balanced with a profitable business model, as the reasons above have shown are possible, then there is no time to waste.

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References:

Anderson J. Exploring the role of board leaders in patient- and family-centered care: a conversation. Presented at Hospitals and Communities Moving Forward
with Patient- and Family-Centered Care: An Intensive Training Seminar. Pinehurst, NC: Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care; 2010.

McCarthy D. "Case study: achieving a culture of patient- and family-centered care at Bronson Methodist Hospital." Quality Matters. 2007.

Robison J. "What is the 'patient experience'? Hospitals are becoming increasingly frustrated - and wasting money - trying to hit the wrong target.,"GallupManagement Journal Online. 2010:1-3

The Joint Commission. Advancing effective communication, cultural competence, and patient- and family-centered care.. Oakbrook Terrace, IL: JCAHO, 2010.

Richard Kimball Jr. is a financial executive with deep proficiency in the healthcare industry and has experience in various capacities e.g. investment banking, venture capital and public policy. Richard is currently a Fellow in Stanford's Distinguished Careers Institute and building a healthcare technology start up HEXL.COM. Richard graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics.

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