The patient should always be a doctor’s top priority- that is essentially a given with any doctor and any field of practice. However, not all doctors are trained specifically with the goal of developing a relationship with their patients and educating them on their conditions and treatments. For some doctors, unfortunately, the patient is little more than a body to diagnose. With a patient-centered approach, you can think of the patient and their doctor as part of team. While some patients, according to a study from the University of Iowa, are more likely to follow advice from a doctor with a more traditional approach, the advantages of a patient-centered approach are obvious for those that value building relationships with their healthcare providers. Here are some of the benefits of a patient-centered approach.
1. Improved treatment outcomes
Patients who value a partnership with their doctors are more likely to trust in their doctor and follow their recommendations. Research has found that a patient under the care of a patient-centered physician is not only more likely to be satisfied with their care, but also more likely to have successful treatment outcomes as a result of following their doctor’s orders.
2. More transparency
A patient-centered approach allows for more transparency on both sides, allowing greater communication and collaboration overall between doctor and patient. The doctor will have a better understanding of the patient’s pain, feelings, goals and desires, and the patient will have a better understanding of their own health, such as the risks and treatment options for their condition.
3. Better decision-making
The combination of greater transparency and trust is better decision-making. Both the doctor and the patient are able to make more informed decisions by working together to address the issue. Better decision lead to better outcomes so all of the benefits of a patient-centered approach play into each other and result in a positive experience all-around.
So how can you be sure your doctor is taking a patient-centered approach with you? Look for signs that your doctor values your time and well being, and treats you like a person and not just a case study. Your doctor should take the time to really get to know you, listen to and answer your questions, and take the time to explain your condition and treatment.
When searching for a doctor, the most important thing to keep in mind is your own goals and needs. While a patient-centered approach benefits most patients, it is not for everyone. As mentioned previously, some patients (especially older ones) prefer a more traditional, straightforward approach and don’t care as much about developing a relationship with their doctor. Always keep your own interests in mind and you should be able to find a doctor that is a good match.