Dear colleagues and members of EGPRN,
The theme “Person-centred care and its outcomes in primary care” is reflecting the importance of applying person-centred care in everyday practice, but also of measuring the objective outcomes of that care.
Person-centred care (PCC) has been associated with many positive outcomes of care: patients’ emotional state, satisfaction and empowerment, medication adherence, reduction of malpractice, complaints and improvements in physician satisfaction and consultation time. Regardless of the specific context of care that is highly dependent on the patient, physician and healthcare system characteristics, PCC represents a core value of family medicine that should be implemented in family physicians’ everyday work across Europe. Yet despite growing recognition of the importance of PCC, as well as evidence of its effectiveness in contributing to other system goals such as efficiency and effectiveness, the nation's health care system falls short of achieving it. Further more, data from national and international studies indicate that patients often rate hospitals and medical care providers highly, but report significant problems in gaining access to critical information, understanding treatment options, getting explanations regarding medications, and receiving responsive, compassionate service from their health care professionals.
Covid-19 has challenged nearly everything about health care delivery, including the experiences of patients and families and health care professionals. In the midst of Covid-19, patient trust is on the line, virtual care has been embraced as never before. Nearly everything has become virtual; families visit with each other over Skype given visitation restrictions, and barriers to virtual reimbursement and accessibility have come down, at least temporarily. Post–Covid-19, with the virtual platforms and apps that have been stood up between clinicians and the patient, we often don’t even have to touch a patient anymore, physically or emotionally. It may interfere with collection of psychosocial and emotional information, and therefore may interfere with development of supportive, healing relationships. On the other hand, patient access to the electronic health record and messaging functions may improve communication, patient empowerment, engagement, and self-management.
Redesigning patient experience measurement and assessing our organizations’ readiness to deliver on the promise of patient centredness will empower the health care professionals to deliver not just care, but actual caring. There was substantial evidence that physicians’ beliefs and attitudes were demonstrated as significant physician-related factors influencing patient participation in medical decisions. Although researchers used different approaches to implement PCC interventions, there has been no comparison of patient centredness and its outcomes in different European countries. Therefore, we need good large databases and interventional studies on population level.