Friday, August 6, 2010

The Patient Perspective

Can we really reshape the relationship between patients, their families and health care providers and improve the quality of health care? My quick and simple answer is definitely, yes.

I sincerely believe that we as patients and families of patients hold the key to a vault of valuable information that will not only improve health care relationships but also increase patient safety and be done in an affordable way. We need to rid ourselves of complicated processes that only lead to drawn out meetings, redefined mission statements and overflowing recycle bins.

The future of quality health care lies in learning how to take the patients perspective, which has been defined by hard earned experiences, and line them up with the expertise of medical providers. Integrating these two vials of wisdom, placing them side by side, creates the power behind real change. This has the capacity to form a true partnership where both the patient and provider agenda is served and valued.

Be the Change can pave a new road to better health care. It is possible to strengthen the relationship that currently exists between patients, families and medical providers. My family’s health care experience especially in my son Michael’s rare disease can often be more valuable than any degree or certification. Embracing that truth will be the driving force behind redefining relationships between patients, families and medical providers.

It’s no secret that the way to strengthen a relationship is to improve the methods in which you communicate. For instance, patients and their families are constantly frustrated in finding fair and consistent ways to communicate information between health care providers and patients. It should not be the exception but the norm to feel both physically and emotionally cared for by the way medical providers communicate with us. This feeling is achieved in a number of ways, but establishing a reasonable length of time a patient waits for information would be a good start. When a medical provider adheres to the established guidelines, the patient will naturally learn to trust the process. That alone will increase the outcome of the medical experience, strengthen the patient/provider relationship and ultimately shape a more human experience.

When I speak on behalf of patients and families experiences for Be the Change, I talk about the ways a patient perspective can impact health care. The next logical step is to incorporate a patient’s perspective and wisdom into existing health care manuals. The insights gleaned from a patient’s own experiences, coupled with clinical wisdom, will provide a profound teachable component on the value of the patient perspective. We will maintain the value in the current clinical logic, making it even more influential because of the enhanced patient perspective connection.

This is just the beginning of how the patient perspective can impact the future of health care which allows everyone to
Be the Change we all desire.

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