Having consistent processes allows for an essential foundation of patient-centered care: customization. Susan Frampton, president of Planetree, a not-for-profit membership organization working to implement a comprehensive patient-centered model of care, says standardization and customization are not enemies.
"It all comes down to setting up systems up that allow for choice," says Frampton. "For example, every hospital has an admissions process. There's quite a bit of information that's collected at that time. And in a more traditional sense, it's always been information that clinicians think is important to have. A patient-centered approach would be to say, 'What aspects of the experience can we provide choice to patients around that will work for them and work for us? And what sort of systems do we have to have in place to support that?' "
An example would be patient-directed visitation. "You know, you add one question to that admissions paperwork that says, 'Who would you like to have available to you, and when would you like them to be able to be here?' And that information then gives the patient some choice about, 'Who is my support system, who do I need to have here?' If you have a system then where that same information goes into the care plan that the nursing staff is working with, and it's right up there with other important pieces of information—the nurses can really use that to help manage the patient."
This article appears in the August 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.