Patient and family-centered care emphasizes actively engaging patients and families to improve health outcomes, experience, and system performance.
The healthcare system has historically been provider-centric, with doctors and nurses making most of the decisions.
However, research shows that involving patients and families leads to better health outcomes, wiser spending, and higher satisfaction.
This has led to a growing focus on the benefits of patient and family-centered care (PFCC). PFCC is a partnership between patients, families, and providers that supports active participation in care.
According to the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, PFCC has numerous benefits for patients, families, healthcare staff, and systems.
Here are 7 key advantages of PFCC that show why it should be a priority for all healthcare organizations.
1. Better Health Outcomes
Multiple studies reveal that PFCC improves health outcomes for patients.
For instance, when patients are more involved in discharge planning, they have significantly lower readmission rates.
Patient engagement also leads to improved diabetes control and fewer medical errors.
PFCC gives patients a sense of control and understanding of their condition.
This motivates them to be active partners in their care. Patients who are empowered and informed about their health make better choices that drive outcomes.
2. Higher Patient Satisfaction
PFCC leads to greater patient satisfaction with their healthcare experiences. Patients appreciate having their values and preferences incorporated into care plans.
They also value open communication with providers.
One study found 95% patient satisfaction when families were allowed 24/7 access and could actively participate in ICU care.
Other research shows that PFCC boosts patient confidence in healthcare providers.
3. Better Provider Experience
While PFCC requires more coordination, it also improves workplace culture for providers. Allowing deeper relationships with patients gives meaning and purpose to healthcare work.
It reduces provider burnout and improves retention. For instance, Cleveland Clinic saw physician turnover drop from 14% to 7% after adopting PFCC principles. The empowering approach motivates staff to deliver better care.
4. Wiser Spending
PFCC enables more prudent use of scarce healthcare resources. Actively engaged patients help reduce overtreatment and unnecessary costs.
For example, discussing goals and values with patients near the end of life minimizes unhelpful procedures.
One academic hospital saved $2 million per year by using PFCC to reduce lab tests ordered.
Avoiding just a few unwanted treatments per patient really adds up system-wide.
5. Effective Care Coordination
With PFCC, care coordination improves between providers both inside and outside the health system. Patients serve as the common thread tying together each piece of their care.
For example, patients with multiple chronic conditions have helped design their care plans.
This has reduced duplicate tests and harmful drug interactions when seeing different specialists.
6. Better System Responsiveness
The PFCC approach makes organizations more nimble and responsive to patient needs. For instance, patient/family advisors on improvement committees give ground-level insights on issues.
This has led to more patient-friendly facilities, simplified billing, and more flexible visiting policies. Patients also have a voice in new decisions through PFCC.
7. Increased Trust
Finally, PFCC fosters greater public trust and confidence in the healthcare system. Patients are the ultimate judges of whether providers truly care. Positive patient experiences spread by word-of-mouth and social media.
One children’s hospital saw their regional market share increase after families lauded its PFCC model.
The community recognized the hospital’s commitment to caring for the whole person.
In today’s complex healthcare landscape, PFCC offers a path to delivering compassionate, high-value care.
While organizing care around the patient requires effort, the multitude of benefits are well worth it.
Healthcare leaders must make PFCC a strategic priority to create the systems of the future.
The essence of medicine is truly caring for people. By engaging patients and families as partners, PFCC allows healthcare providers to fulfill their noble mission in the best possible way.