The Importance of Patient-Centered Care

Patient-Centered Care


Patient-centered care involves treating patients with respect and ensuring their participation in the treatment process. The blog explains the importance of this type of care and the elements involved in it.

When healthcare professionals treat patients with dignity, ensure they are comfortable, involve them in the treatment process and allow them the freedom to make healthcare decisions regarding themselves, the healthcare rendered is called patient-centered care.

A typical scenario would be a doctor and his support staff making sure a patient is aware of what is happening in his treatment – this could be explaining why some tests are needed, interpreting the test results in a way the patient can understand, making sure the patient understands the diagnosis and giving a clear idea of the treatment options available so that the patient can also be involved in the decision making and has ownership over his health.

Patient-centered care looks after not only the patient’s healthcare needs but also his emotional needs. It empowers the patient resulting in a host of benefits.

Advantages of Patient-Centered Care

Patient centered-care has been gaining focus over the last decade. Healthcare leaders, doctors and patients all realize its importance in not only improving patient outcome but also in reducing medical expenditure.

For the Patient:

  • Patient Satisfaction Increases: When healthcare professionals take the time to listen to their patients and understand their concerns and expectations, they are better able to offer treatment options which will fulfill patients’ needs. This increases patient satisfaction.
  • Unnecessary Expenses Reduce: Understanding patients’ needs helps to reduce (or eliminate) unnecessary tests and procedures.
  • Patients’ Health Improves: When a patient feels in control of his/her health, the stress felt reduces and this reflects in the outcome.

For the Hospital:

  • Hospital Reputation Improves: Patients who receive patient-centered care not only come back to the same healthcare provider but also spread the word about the care rendered. Glowing, genuine, word-of-mouth reviews are indeed the best validation any hospital can hope for.
  • Employees’ Morale Improves: Making meaningful connections with patients has been shown to boost the morale of healthcare workers.

Elements of Patient-Centered Care

  • Healthcare providers need to give their patients’ values and preferences the regard it deserves. They also need to give patients due support during the treatment process to help achieve their treatment goals.
  • Coordinating care, educating patients about support resources and being clear about the result of medical decisions is important. For example, if a patient has chosen a certain medication, his doctor should make sure the patient understands its benefits as well as side-effects.
  • Staying up-to-date with the patient’s progress is essential.
  • Transparency is another crucial element. The patient should be given a clear idea of his health status. This will help patients feel secure and they will be able to trust their healthcare provider wholeheartedly.
  • If the patient is being treated by specialists from different departments, it is necessary to ensure coordination between the different specialists while also keeping the patient informed.
  • Ensuring a clean and safe environment is another key factor.
  • The comfort of the patient too has to be addressed and not just in materialistic terms. By asking patients about their pain levels, finding out if they need assistance with daily tasks, etc. patients’ comfort can be ensured which will help in their recovery.
  • Patients are bound to be anxious during certain treatments. If the anxiety is too much, the services of mental health professionals should be offered. Other than anxiety, patients may also have concerns about their financial status, recovery time, etc. These aspects too need to be addressed.
  • Communication with families is another key aspect. Keeping the families updated about the treatment is important so that families can give patients the emotional support needed.
  • Patient-centered care involves making sure patients are safe and comfortable after discharge too. For example, letting them know which exercises to continue, medications to take, diet to follow, etc. They should also be provided with information on home nursing servicesand 24-hour helpline numbers.
  • Evaluating patient’s needs and providing information on resources that will benefit individual needs will also help patients a lot.
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What Patients Have a Right To


  • Patients have the right to expect patient-centered care from their healthcare providers.
  • Respect for patients’ preferences is the cornerstone of this care model.
  • This means that not only will the medical staff take the time to understand preferences, but they will make sure these preferences are followed throughout the treatment process.
  • There will be no discrimination meted out based on age, gender, etc.


  • Involvement of patients in their treatment processes is another important marker.
  • This does not only mean that every step of treatment will be explained and the patient included in decision making, it also means patients can ask for clarifications, explanations and can even ask for time to come to terms with their diagnosis or to make a decision.
  • They can talk to friends and family before deciding on an option.
  • Rejecting a treatment is also a choice that is available to patients.


  • Communication is another key aspect.
  • Without proper communication channels, neither can the patients’ needs be understood nor will the patient be able to fully involve in his treatment.
  • Patients should let healthcare providers know about any language (or other communication) problems encountered.

Confidentiality and Privacy

  • Last, but not the least, all patients have a right to a safe environment.
  • This means maintaining patient confidentiality and making sure all medical staff respect patients’ privacy requirements.
  • Patients can always let their providers know if their physical privacy requirements are not met.

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