The modern healthcare has seen a transition from disease-centered to patient-centered care, and this change is part of the National Quality Agenda in the United States. Also called family- or user-centered, individualized or personalized care, it means putting patients and their relatives at the heart of medical decision-making and regarding them as experts who should work together with clinicians to reach value-based outcomes.
The major aspects of such care include patient engagement and education, accessibility and personalization of care, and regular, effective communication.
At the policy level, enhancing patient experience has become a component of the Triple Aim (“Better Health, Better Care, Lower Cost”) of the US healthcare, and the patient-centered care has been already implemented across many programs as mandated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). These are the programs initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and other organizations.
With the abundance of technologies offered by the global healthcare IT market and the adoption of relevant policies and regulations, sustaining patient-centered care becomes easier.
EHRs to foster accessible care
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have a long, rich history. Their programs have been providing health coverage to vulnerable US population — the older, disabled, and low-income people — since 1965. Yet, it’s been relatively recently that the organizations woke up to the necessity to underpin their programs with technology.
In 2011, the CMS spearheaded the EHR Incentive Programs to encourage eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals to adopt, implement, and demonstrate the meaningful use of certified EHR technology.