Patient-focused healthcare has come to the forefront in recent discourse on care quality. Cited in the “quality chasm” paper of the Institute of Medicine as an aspect of superior-quality healthcare, the term ‘patient-centered healthcare’ is being currently incorporated into the lexicons of health planners, healthcare facilities, policymakers and the public relations personnel of healthcare organizations. Insurance companies are increasingly linking payments to patient-focused care delivery. But much discourse on the subject fails to take into account the vital, radical meaning of actual ‘patient-focused’ care. This concept’s initiators were quite cognizant of their work’s ethical consequences. Their services were founded upon profound regard for clients/patients as individuals with unique characteristics, expectations, and wants, and a duty to offer them health services on their individual terms. Therefore, a patient is recognized as an individual in relation to his/her respective social world, respected, paid attention to, kept updated, and allowed to participate in his/her own care-related decisions and activities. They acknowledged patient wishes (but did not unthinkingly act on them) in the course of treatment. Concerns have been raised with regard to the idea that patient-focused care which concentrates on patients’ individual requirements, may be incompatible with evidence-based practices that typically concentrate on populations. This argument has fortunately concluded, with evidence-based care advocates concurring that positive outcomes have to be delineated with regard to what individual patients value. Both evidence-based and patient-focused healthcare take into account generalizations as well as specifics (Epstein & Street, 2011).
The concept of patient-focused care deals with organizational, personal and professional relationship quality. Therefore, attempts at fostering this approach must take into consideration the patient/client-centeredness of healthcare providers, structures and customers (i.e., patients and patient families). Facilitation of active patient participation in consultations transforms the centuries-old trend of doctor-dominated dialogue into interaction wherein patients actively participate. Training providers to improve their attentiveness, knowledge and empathetic nature alters the part they play — from one marked by power to one aimed at understanding, cooperation, partnership, and unity. Process modifications, which remove the burden of productivity-focused assembly-line service from the shoulders of primary care providers, can get rid of the fatigue and cognitive overload which makes healthcare delivery a mechanical activity, bereft of empathy or patient-centeredness (Epstein & Street, 2011).
Uncertainty regarding the true meaning of patient-focused care may give rise to feeble, shallow efforts. So-called patient-focused hospitals are restyling their interiors to represent boutique hotels, full with foliage,…