4 min read

Hearts, minds and outcomes

How to begin the journey of true patient centricity

By the very nature of the fact that you are reading an article on the topic, it’s likely that you strongly believe this: patient focus improves outcomes. We certainly do. Patient-centred care has been talked about for over a decade and reams of research now proves the impact of taking a patient-oriented approach. How is it then that the value of patient centricity continues to be debated? Like any process of change, moving towards patient centricity is impacted by “hard” and “soft” organisational factors. Here’s some tactics we’ve found effective for gaining momentum….

1. Acknowledge the importance of acceptability 

The first way to embed patient centricity is to argue that it results in effective things, efficiently produced.

Whatever healthcare intervention you are creating - a new drug, service, discussion guide for patients - it will only be adopted into the system if it is acceptable to both clinicians and patients. You’re going to create a lot of waste if your intervention is not acceptable. How does patient centricity fit in to this? It provides a way to understand patients and purposefully design for acceptability. We may be good at doing this with clinicians, but we must do it for all stakeholders. 

According to a study of research in this area by Mandeep Sekhon, there are seven factors that influence acceptability for new healthcare interventions:

Affective attitude How will patients and clinicians feel about it?

Burden How much effort is required to use it?

Ethicality Does it fit within values systems?

Intervention coherence Do patients and clinicians understand it and how it affects them?

Opportunity cost What might have to be given up to use it and is that acceptable?

Perceived effectiveness Do patients and clinicians believe it works?

Self efficacy Are patients confident they can use it properly?

2. Provide pertinent proof 

The second way to embed patient centricity has to be disease-level specific - showing how it improves patient/service/clinical outcomes.

Without cold hard facts, it’s all too easy for people to dismiss patient centricity as a nice-to-have rather than essential. That’s because in a natural science organisation, patient centricity can be seen as optional. But it’s a fact: involving patients in their care improves outcomes. This is right for patients and right for organisations that are striving to create value for their stakeholders.

You can either find or create hyper-relevant evidence to convince internal stakeholders of the positive impact of patient centricity. Review the literature and find studies and reports that are relevant to your disease space. Better still, ideate and test an intervention - collecting and sharing appropriate proof points through each step of the process. 

3. Tap into people’s “why?”

The third way to embed patient centricity is to appeal to the heart.

What motivates your internal stakeholders? What influences their behaviour, assumptions, beliefs and values? We all work in the healthcare industry to help people. Everyone is motivated by this deep driver, this purpose. How can you tap into this - or other motivators - such as the rewarding nature of working in a collaborative way?

4. Drip feed patient centricity into the everyday

The fourth way to embed patient centricity is to make it real and ever-present. 

In the old world, “water cooler moments” were a valuable opportunity to advance change agendas. How can you create “Zoom moments” that bring patient focus into the everyday? How present is patient centricity in the tools and resources teams reference as they go about their everyday tasks? Auditing these resources and aligning them for patient centricity may be a tactic worthy of exploration.

Changing attitudes and behaviours is a process that requires the right mix of activity. Have you diagnosed where your organisation is at with patient centricity? What have you done to move things forward? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below

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