Patient-Centered Care: What Does it Take?

Speaking of “what am I observing for,” Holly Potter from Kaiser Permanente let me know about this excellent report from the Commonwealth Fund. It’s a nice review of the history and components of Patient-Centered Care, accompanied with data from interviews of key experts in the field.

For this project, it helps add a little structure to our observations, because there are discrete things we can look for. The report takes the reader through two example organizations that have these attributes. The checklist it cites is:

  1. Leadership
  2. A strategic vision, clearly communicated (“from the boardroom to the bedside”, or I might say, “from the boardroom to the exam room”)
  3. Involvement of patients and families at multiple levels
  4. Care for the caregivers through a supportive work environment
  5. Systematic measurement and feedback
  6. Quality of the physical environment
  7. Supportive technology

These concepts, especially #7, are right up PCHIT’s alley, as are others that were emphasized by our Advisory Group last week. We have to be careful that this initiative is mostly about #7, at the same time, #7 is a tool to serve the other 6 items.

In contrast to the way data was acquired about organizations, in interviews, I am going to the exam room myself (“Genchi Genbutsu“) to understand each organization’s experience. I think by definition, an organization that is interested in the answer to these questions probably has answered them well already.


Ted Eytan, MD