With the emergence of new digital health solutions and an increased shift to delivering virtual care, clinicians are now able to provide quality services to higher-complexity patients from a distance. Whilst using such solutions, clinicians must not lose sight of the need to deliver care that is truly empathetic at its core.
As part of The Healthcare Innovation and Technology Show, Elsevier hosted the Panel Session, Building trust and engagement: empowering the workforce to deliver empathetic care. Throughout the panel discussion, Robert Nieves, VP Health Informatics Elsevier, and Deirdre Stewart, Sr. Director and Healthcare Executive at Cerner Europe at Cerner Corporation, illustrated the need to deliver empathetic care which is built on patient-clinician trust, effective communication, and collaboration.
Delivering a patient-centric care model
A patient-centric care model comes from individualised and personalised planning, with evidence-based practice as its foundation. Although this may be new for some, the workforce can be built to embrace novel ways of learning and working, but this transformation is dependent on change management. As part of the panel session, Deirdre Stewart explained that transformation must be patient-centred , as they “have to be integral to their own health and care journeys.” It is recognised that there can be a hierarchal approach to the delivery of care, with clinical pathways usually being very structured and controlled, meaning the patient has a more passive role. If instead, this model shifted so that the patient was a more equal partner and was actively involved in their care plan, it will empower them to drive their own care and yield a better outcome.
Building on this, Robert Nieves discussed how healthcare organisations should utilise training solutions to support the progressive development of their care teams in delivering patient-centric care, especially to aid diagnosis. Outlining an approach that provides clinicians with access to relevant knowledge sources, both at the point of care, providing them with a strong evidence-base and helping align to a people-centric vision. Both evidence and practice show the most powerful diagnostic tool for a clinician is taking a thorough patient history, yet many clinicians approach these series of questions as a task rather than a tool that helps establish trust with the patient. Additionally, Robert Nieves asserted that this change “requires individual organisations to look at how are they are working with clinicians and supporting them to have better listening or interviewing skills.”
Maintaining connection and engagement between patients and clinicians
It is recognised that there is great importance in sustaining a connection between patients and clinicians during any transition to new models of care delivery. But to truly engage with one another, clinicians must first listen to the patient in order to build a trusted rapport and then become better at utilising the available resources now available to them. Despite this, some studies show that patients typically are not listened to during a medical consultation, instead they typically only speak for a median of 18 seconds before being interrupted by their clinician.[i] This further highlights the need for effective training to improve interaction and observation, to improve the care for patients.
The panel discussion concluded by reflecting on the impact of the ongoing global pandemic on care delivery and the challenges associated with the transition from in-person to virtual assessments. Deidre Stewart stated clinicians being truly empathetic is a big part of sustaining connection and engagement, but picking up on a patient’s imperceptible cues has been harder in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel further stressed that clinicians and patients must strive to eliminate external distractions while consultations are taking part in new environments, with Robert elaborating on this point and sharing experiences of patients partaking in appointments while out shopping. There was consensus that patient-centric care should be built on the accountability and responsibility of clinicians and patients, who should ensure they are present during sessions, to nurture an interaction that is helpful for both parties.
You can watch the full panel discussion here and to find out more, please go to our clinical solutions site.
[i] Phillips KA, Ospina NS. Physicians Interrupting Patients. JAMA. 2017;318(1):93–94. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.6493
Elsevier Panel Session: Building trust and engagement: empowering the workforce to deliver empathetic care
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