How often have you had to see your primary care physician when you’re feeling awful, but have to sit in a waiting room for an hour or more past your appointment time? Or, have you called for test results, only to be passed around from one staff member to another, with no one seeming to find what you are calling about? Or, even more frustrating, you begin a course of care with your primary care physician, who prescribes a specific treatment. On your return visit, your physician is not available, so you see an associate who decides the first course of treatment was all wrong, and changes it. As a responsible patient, you follow the new treatment, only to have your primary care doctor question the change of treatment at your follow-up appointment! Or, maybe it is just something as simple as looking for the results of blood work so you can check each specific component yourself, being anxious about the results.
These are just some of the challenges patients face in the modern healthcare universe. While not every experience is a nightmare for all patients, consistency of care is an important standard. With poor care, the patient can feel as if they have been forgotten by the very medical community that is there to treat and serve them.
WHY PATIENT-CENTRIC HEALTH CARE IS THE NEW VISION FOR PRIMARY CARE CENTERS
Out with the old standard of patients waiting and not getting answers, because there is a new vision for primary care centers. It is called “Patient-Centered” care, and it is revolutionizing not only how health care is delivered, but the role played by the patient.
Patient-centered primary care is beginning to take root across America. It is a key component of a health system that ensures all patients have access to the kind of care that works best for them. It also firmly involves the patient in their care.
Here are some of the differences found at patient-driven primary care facilities:
- A health system that is more responsive to the patient’s preferences, needs and values
- Provides patients with direct access to the same information the physician has, making the patient an active partner in their care
- Defining quality health care as satisfying the patient’s needs in the manner and timeframe desired by the patient
- Ease of making appointments, timely appointments, and shorter office waits
- Timely response to emails and telephone calls
- Electronic prescription refills
- An after-hours service that makes primary care readily accessible on nights, weekends and holidays
- Patient info on medical conditions, treatment options, and treatment plans
- Reminders/Alerts for appointments, routine preventive care, and special follow-ups
- A specific person in the primary care center who is there just to assist a patient when there are problems. This person must have the latitude and ability to get answers, address issues, and accomplish what the patient needs.
- Integrated, comprehensive care, with smooth transfer of patient information across a team of providers and specialists
- Continuity of patient care during treatment within the primary care center, with specialists, and within the patient’s community.
HOW THESE CHANGES IMPROVE PATIENT HEALTH CARE
When a patient enters this world of patient-driven primary healthcare, they experience high quality, coordinated, integrated care from all medical team members and specialists. Patients immediately notice that they feel valued, both for the valuable information they can provide to assist in their care, and for being considered during decisions regarding treatments and treatment plans. The patient is considered as a whole person who is integrating proper health care and treatment into their lives…no matter how varied their circumstances. The patient is often asked for their opinion, not only to provide the primary care center team with feedback to improve care, but to help determine what the best course of treatment really is for that specific patient.
The result of having a patient-centric primary care center is a well-cared for patient who has access to health care and information with improved quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness.
To experience the extraordinary difference this new era of patient-driven primary care provides patients, please contact the friendly staff at South Carolina Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation by calling (803) 749-1111, or request an appointment online. Stop by, and let them show you what being a valued patient, and participating member of your own health care team really means.