ICBioethics Blog 

Patient-Centered Care Protects Rights

Written by: Dr. Kathy Gennuso

All patients have the right to participate in the development and implementation of their care plan and make voluntary choices about potentially life-altering healthcare interventions. Healthcare organizations are responsible for securing those rights. If they don’t, who will?

Clinicians have fiduciary duties to promote and practice patient-centered values such as competence, compassion, trust, and shared decision-making. Hospitals who do this integrate patient’s rights into all aspects of their culture while fostering healing relationships.  They are patient-centered organizations. They have embedded quality assurance steps that protect patients’ rights and respect patient’s values, needs, and preferences.

(If patient-centered care sounds a little subjective, it might help to access 6 measurable aspects of patient-centered care from the National Cancer Institute).

To accomplish a patient-centered culture, health systems must:

  1. Consider what their current ethical work climate is and where they want it to be holistically;
  2. Establish effective education/training systems that focus on 21st century approaches;
  3. Review all policies and procedures to identify gaps; and
  4. Identify effective organizational implementation mechanisms to effect necessary changes.  Each is critical to the success of protecting patient rights on an on-going, consistent basis because it reinforces the culture, which drives the actions of the organization. Each is measurable . . . and attainable.

Some are getting it right — St. Elizabeth Physicians primary care offices received the highest possible recognition for patient-centered care from the National Committee for Quality Assurance!

Some others? Maybe not so much yet . . .

* We put together a quick quiz for you to judge your ethics knowledge. Want to find out how ethical you are? Click here.

Mitch GennusoComment