Utilizing Healthcare Technology to Promote Patient-Centered Care

Some people – Me! Me! Me! – prefer to be the center of attention. Others feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas instead of conversing, especially if they don’t know the individuals around them. 

In healthcare, though, being the center of attention is the purpose of patient-centered care (PCC). That’s because PCC puts the patient’s needs and desired health outcomes at the forefront and encourages the active collaboration and shared decision-making between patients, families and providers to design and manage a customized and comprehensive care plan. 

Following are other common elements that are key in a patient-centered approach:

  • The health system’s mission, vision, values, leadership and quality-improvement drivers are aligned to patient-centered goals.
  • Care is collaborative, coordinated and accessible. The right care is provided at the right time and the right place.
  • Care focuses on physical comfort as well as emotional well-being.
  • Patient and family preferences, values, cultural traditions and socioeconomic conditions are respected.
  • Patients and their families are an expected part of the care team and play a role in decisions at the patient and system level.
  • The presence of family members in the care setting is encouraged and facilitated.
  • Information is shared fully and in a timely manner so that patients and their family members can make informed decisions.

Key Components of Patient-Centered Care 

Without effective communication and support of improved health literacy, patient-centered care rarely meets its goal. As the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) notes, communication skills needed for patient-centered care include eliciting the patient’s agenda with open-ended questions, especially early on; not interrupting the patient; and engaging in focused active listening. 

Then there’s health literacy — a patient’s ability to understand what a provider is telling them. Nearly half of all adult patients in the United States have difficulty understanding and acting upon health information. 

Low health literacy has been known to have a remarkable impact on a patient’s engagement with preventive activities. Studies have pointed to patients with low health literacy as having lesser involvement with cancer screening, breast screening and influenza vaccination.  

There’s also digital literacy. It’s the ability to seek, find, understand and appraise health information from electronic sources and apply the knowledge gained to addressing or solving a health problem. 

Perks of PCC 

When there’s a strong patient-provider relationship based on effective communication and an adequate level of health and digital literacy, individuals are more likely to be engaged in their care, and treatments are more effective. Meeting patient preferences results in fewer mistakes, including costly medical errors. 

Other benefits of patient-centered care consist of:

  • Improved satisfaction scores among patients and their families
  • Enhanced reputation of providers among healthcare consumers
  • Better morale and productivity among clinicians and ancillary staff
  • Improved resource allocation
  • Reduced expenses and increased financial margins throughout the continuum of care

For healthcare providers focused on value-based care, patient-centered care is essential. Why? Because it improves outcomes by reducing hospital admissions and readmissions, ameliorates preventive care and delivers more personalized care for chronic care patients.   

Utilizing Digital Health to Prioritize Patient-Centered Care 

Healthcare technology plays an important part in patient-centered care, especially as an increasing number of individuals prefer to communicate with their provider through some mode of digital health. They want the convenience they’ve come to expect in other industries, a concept known as healthcare consumerism

According to a resource from the Commonwealth Fund, healthcare technology is a key attribute providers should emphasize to drive patient-centered care. In addition to reducing wasted time through operational efficiencies and recovering lost revenue by reducing patient no-shows, digital health tools that prioritize patient safety and privacy make healthcare more accessible and enhance the overall patient experience. 

When utilized effectively and appropriately, digital health technology that supports patient-centered care restores patient outcomes by expanding patient outreach. Through its boost of patient engagement, it promotes patient behavior that leads to positive health outcomes, improved satisfaction and care delivery efficiency, reduced costs and better quality of care and patient safety. 

Digital health tools that enable patient-centered care include those that equip patients to schedule appointments online and communicate with their provider using text messaging. SMS text messaging is an inexpensive and accessible method for strengthening patient-provider communication. And, it’s an unmatched tool for patient engagement that utilizes a platform they’re already picking up every two minutes and 43 seconds

HIPAA-compliant two-way text messaging gives providers and patients the ability to securely converse for appointment reminders, patient outreach, population health and more. Messages can be customized for each patient, but provider staff also can send out the same message to a specific patient population. 

Not only do text message appointment reminders save time for a provider’s staff, they improve productivity, appointment confirmation rates and patient engagement, reduce cancellations and call volume and make rescheduling easy. Real-time text messaging also provides patients with appropriate, accurate and up-to-date information about treatment and safety issues. 

Providertech’s HIPAA-compliant two-way text messaging solution allows you to clearly communicate with your patients in between visits, respond to routine requests without picking up the phone, navigate your patients through the often complex healthcare system and more. Book a meeting with us today for more details!