Healthcare reform is moving in the direction of patient-centered care, allowing patients and their families to be actively involved in their own health. This is not just a catch phrase; it’s a radical rethinking of how the healthcare system treats sick people, from the medical device stakeholders to the nurses and receptionists on the hospital floor. In order to implement patient-centered care, these 5 principles must be kept in mind.

People, not patients

People are not defined by their diseases. Their goals and dreams go beyond their current medical issues. Patients who enter a hospital or clinic interact with various touch points. It’s important to look at each of these to see how the patients can be made more comfortable along the way toward better health. Registration, assessment, patient participation and checkout are all touch points which should be considered.

Small changes can make a big impact

Healthcare professionals are concerned with the big picture so they often overlook small details. A homecare device which is difficult to use may end up not being utilized. Unclear instructions before checkout can lead to misunderstandings which may bring the patient back to the hospital. A small change can make a big difference in patient comfort as well as reduce risks of recurring health problems.

Data leads to knowledge

Today’s technology allows for collection of big data and its organization into comprehensible information. Data can pinpoint problematic touch points, show success rates for specific processes and products and monitor each individual’s progress. The medical industry can benefit greatly from analyzing data that is readily available and utilizing it to improve patient care.

Sometimes the solution is low-tech

Medical device developers tend to focus on technology to create better devices. But sometimes the answer is much simpler. For instance, text messages can be sent to remind patients to take medication or administer tests. Email reminders about appointments can help keep patients on track so they don’t get negligent about their own care. HIV tests that can be done at home are more efficient and cost-effective than tests administered in a doctor’s office.

Empower the patients

One of the most challenging things about illness is that the patients feel that they have lost control over their lives. They can gain back that control when they are involved in self-care. When patients track their own progress, they are more aware of the objective health issues and not confused by their emotional reactions. When they are motivated by reward instead of operating out of fear and guilt, they control their own destinies and make greater strides in improving their health.

Patrick Sirois
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At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.