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How patient-centered communication improves patient outcomes

How patient-centered communication improves patient outcomes

Studies show that factors like income, depression, and social support are all related to emotional well-being among young adults. Patient-centered communication (PCC) considers the patient's biological, psychological, and social factors, leading to active patient involvement. The key to improving the patient-provider relationship is clear communication.


What is patient-centered communication (PCC)?

The National Library of Medicine defines patient-centered communication as: "A patient-centered approach to communication is to acknowledge the whole person, their personality, life history, and social structure in order to develop a shared understanding of the problem, the goals of treatment, and the barriers to that treatment and wellness."

Using this approach, a healthcare provider can adapt their treatment approach according to a patient's individualized needs. This includes tailoring the treatment plan while considering the patient's psychological and social factors, guided by the Biopsychosocial Model of Disease and Illness.


Why is communication important in the patient-centered approach?

Studies show that clear communication between healthcare providers and their patients results in improved health outcomes. One study in BioMed Central states that "it allows for trust and mutual respect in the care process, thereby promoting care practices that address patients' and caregivers' needs, concerns, and preferences."

Understanding the patient's individualized needs means that the patient can actively participate in their treatment plan. For example, a patient with chronic pain may send a text message expressing their increased pain levels. The healthcare provider then responds in real-time by asking follow-up questions. If the patient's pain levels can be attributed to high levels of stress, the provider can suggest relaxation techniques using clear and concise texts.

This patient-centered approach is easily achieved via teletherapy, like HIPAA compliant text messaging, which conveniently allows patients to stay engaged despite their busy schedules.


Why PCC leads to increased patient satisfaction

By being regularly informed with clinical evidence, patients feel empowered and are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans. 

From a patient's perspective, sharing helpful information results in a sense of validation of their emotions. Patients state that they feel understood, and this improves their overall self-management skills. Patients with better self-management skills are also more likely to adopt healthy habits.

PCC could result in improved access to care and better use of the healthcare system. This results in the cost-effective utilization of health services.


How to enhance patient-provider communication

Regularly sending patients concise tips or motivational messages will help them actively engage in their healthcare journey. Communication encourages patients to be informed. This communication can be shared in different ways, including through text messages or emails. 

A HIPAA compliant text messaging platform can easily be used to address patient concerns, feelings, and contextual factors. Ultimately, continuous PCC fosters a better patient-provider relationship.

Read alsoHow psychoeducational text messaging improves patient outcomes



What are some of the potential barriers to PCC?

Research done on PCC in the pharmacist-patient relationship lists the following potential barriers to effective PCC:

  • Perceived lack of time: Healthcare providers may feel pressured by time constraints, leading to rushed interactions that hinder meaningful communication.
  • Negotiating evidence-based treatment plans: Balancing patients' preferences with evidence-based guidelines can be challenging and may lead to conflicts in treatment decision-making.
  • Provider attitude: Negative attitudes or biases held by healthcare providers can impede open communication and trust between providers and patients.


How can these barriers be overcome?

  • Time management: Healthcare systems can implement policies to allocate adequate time for patient consultations, allowing for thorough discussions and shared decision-making.
  • Training and education: Providers can undergo training to improve their communication skills and learn techniques for negotiating treatment plans collaboratively with patients.
  • Cultural competence: Healthcare organizations can prioritize cultural competency training to help providers develop awareness of their attitudes and biases, fostering a more inclusive and respectful environment for patient-provider interactions.

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