Consumer thinking drives patient-centered care models

The process for delivering quality care -- and the patient that receives it -- have both changed dramatically in recent years. Increasingly, hospitals are challenged to adapt traditional in-patient models to ones that can be delivered amongst numerous providers, outside the hospital setting, and in various ways across the care continuum.

At the same time, patients are no longer passive recipients of medical treatment but active and discerning consumers of health services. Provider reimbursements are becoming value-based and performance ratings are inextricably linked to patient satisfaction. These factors are changing the very definition of patient-centric care as the significance of the patient experience intensifies and oversight of the patient journey becomes critical.

How can providers keep the patient at the center of the process?
Future delivery-of-care models require environments with active patient involvement and greater patient autonomy, all in support of independent decision-making to increase patient satisfaction. Change is not possible without an insightful re-examination of all clinical processes, workflows, and patient interactions to improve both outcomes and service satisfaction. Success requires an approach that not only leverages internal resources of a health system more effectively but also builds a network or ecosystem to connect with multiple external resources seamlessly.

Providers must be able to work across these boundaries and align with stakeholders to ensure patient care is a fluid process from one touch point to the next, through all the transition phases. To do this, health systems are looking for partners who are able to integrate and support the clinical, operational, and technical aspects of the care delivery process, as they can no longer do it alone.

How do you organize health for the consumer?
Health systems know a patient-centered approach is important but tactical plans for quantifiably changing the patient experience in a consumer-focused way are difficult to implement. The task is daunting in its complexity as it spans clinical efficiency, operational performance improvement, and technology innovation – within the hospital and in outpatient and home settings. And, it must support a health system's financial stability. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a more patient-centric, delivery-of-care approach is the lack of clinical integration and effective communication across the health continuum. There still exists inconsistency in capturing patient data as well as the accountability, access, and sharing of information in an actionable manner from one care provider to another through the patient journey.

But that is changing for some. Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) looked to Philips to help them maximize their participation in New York's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program. We're working with them to optimize their medical technology deployment and IT integration into a unified platform. This includes care coordination, data warehousing, health information exchanges (HIE), and telehealth programs. These initiatives will help WMCHealth work toward its end goal to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent over the next five years.

WMCHealth also wanted to use telemedicine to bring a new level of care out into the communities where traveling to appointments was difficult. To do this, they needed to expand high-end services to remote campuses that did not have the infrastructure to provide such services. Philips helped WMCHealth address the complex challenges that arose as it expanded to deliver care more efficiently across the region. As a result, WMCHealth was able to add telemedicine as a new service for managing patients both inside and outside of the hospital and to a wider population that required different models of care to meet their unique situations.

How can we create a better patient experience?
To deliver more efficient and effective care, providers must seek to better understand what the current patient experience is in their organization – gaining deep insights from patients, families, and care providers - in order to discover ways that efficiencies could be enhanced and inefficiencies can be removed. Data-driven decisions drive the best outcomes.

For example, Broward Health Medical Center's infusion center struggled with issues such as handling fluctuations in patient flow, less than optimal chemotherapy turnaround times, operational inefficiencies, and poor design and aesthetics. Ultimately, these factors translated into a poor patient experience.

Philips worked with Broward to transform the patient experience. Leveraging a unique experience flow mapping methodology, the project team was able to illustrate the desired service experience that would serve to drive and guide the redesign of the infusion center. A design thinking approach brought together healthcare solutions from design, process improvement, and patient satisfaction enhancement to remove operational inefficiencies and improve workflows while integrating architecture and technology innovations such as lighting, sound, and projection. This helped Broward create an immersive, multi-sensorial infusion center that was not only unique and inviting but changed the feeling and culture of the center by delivering an enriched patient and staff experience, more efficient processes, and increased operational efficiency.

How does healthcare adapt to value-based, patient-centric care models?
New delivery-of-care models require a view of healthcare that looks across the health continuum and a willingness to embrace innovative, creative ways of working. Strategic partners can provide expertise to collaborate with providers to co-create and improve clinical, operational, and data management efficiency across clinical service areas with a value-based, patient-centered approach. Studying the population of a health system at a societal, cultural, and individual level enables the identification of macro paradigm shifts and socio-cultural trends. Each partnership is as unique as and must be designed to meet the specific needs and goals of the provider and its patient population. Only then can delivery of care models meet the needs of patients and the scrutiny of consumers.

By leveraging strategic partnerships that combine skills and expertise across the health continuum, hospitals and health systems will be able to adapt to and deliver new delivery-of-care models. This will enable them to deliver more than just the optimization of operational performance and clinical care to include virtual care lifestyle strategies, strategic patient-centered design improvements, and community care resource alignment initiatives. Ultimately, these areas and others like them are the areas that will profoundly impact the way patient care is delivered around the world and address the new ways healthcare consumers expect them to be delivered.

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