It’s one of the great catchphrases of the modern medical curriculum – but what does patient-centred care actually look like in practice?
We recently brought you the patient-centred medical home model, a focus for primary care reform in the United States, and examined whether and how it could work in Australia.
This week, The George Institute and Consumers Health Forum of Australia are holding a panel on consumer-focused healthcare models and the role of innovation, so this longread from the Commonwealth Fund is timely.
— The George Institute (@georgeinstitute) March 29, 2016
The Commonwealth Fund piece looks at a handful of healthcare companies who have shirked the traditional medical model in various ways, with a particular focus on delivering care to patients with chronic or complex needs.
It’s worth reading the whole article, but some features that were of interest include:
- an emphasis on multidisciplinary teams including physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and case managers (typically an RN) or a ‘health coach’ (community health worker), as well as specialist visits on-site and complementary therapies such as acupuncture, yoga and tai-chi
- provision of care outside of clinics, often in patients’ homes, as well as use of telemedicine and e-health to do ‘virtual rounds’
- additional supports tailored to the patient eg free transport, mobile phones to stay in touch with their care team
- use of tracking technology eg self-directed at-home monitoring of blood pressure, pulse oximetry, weight and other parameters including regular wellbeing surveys, which are linked into the practice’s central database via tablet
- on-site pharmacies allowing medicines to be handed to the patient by their doctor during the visit, with explanations on how to take it, and how it works
Data suggests these models work, bringing down ED visits, hospital admissions and length of stay, and improving drug understanding and patient-doctor communication.
Getting more meta still, the piece also looks at ‘population health management companies’ who are contracted by primary care practices to manage high-risk patients, in a bid to improve outcomes.
Lots of food for thought ahead of Thursday’s #innovatehealth forum — we look forward to the debate.