2018 introduced the push for patient-centred care, equipping medical professionals with the tools to focus on their patients (not the process). As dermatology technologies continue to evolve, how can this be expected to shift to patient-centric care?
What is Patient-Centred Vs. Centric Care?
Wait times to see a dermatologist often take over six months, with appointments lasting as little as a few minutes. It can take weeks to get a diagnosis, care services are separated, and patients are obstructed in their ability to stay connected to their healthcare data and providers. Patient-centred care was the initial solution to some of these concerns, by establishing a “partnership among practitioners, patients, and their families to ensure that decisions respect patients’ wants, needs and preferences and solicit patients’ input on the education and support they need to make decisions and participate in their own care.”
To summarize, patient-centred care was a set of goals and attitudes designed to make the most out of the time and services that the patient received from their doctor without actually altering the healthcare framework. As a result, although there was a big push for patient-centred care, the majority of dermatology care problems remain unresolved.
In contrast, patient-centric care is dedicated to evolving the healthcare framework to fit the needs of patients and their healthcare providers- rather than forcing users to adhere to a system, the system is flexible to all stakeholders’ needs. As a result, the implementation of new technologies, workflows, and tools is a requirement. In turn, this will lead to proactive patient care based on communication and participation from the patient themselves, resulting in a comprehensive, centralized care profile that allows medical professionals to provide better informed care.
What Are Key Pillars Of Patient-Centric Care?
What comprises patient-centric care system? Four key qualities include:
Accessibility: In order for a patient to receive quality care, it these services must first and foremost be accessible. This can come in many forms; one such example in teledermatology is a patient portal app or software such as MoleScope that connects patients with a medical professional across large distances.
Engagement: Research demonstrates that “75% of readmissions could have been prevented with better care coordination”.1 As a result, a relationship beyond the 10-minute visit is essential, and this can only become possible if dermatologists and other care providers have the capacity to handle the required quantity of patients on a daily basis.
Flexibility: Many patients are limited in the amount of care they are able to receive due to mobility issues or lack of available dermatologists in their area. By empowering them with an affordable mobile dermoscope, they have the ability to capture dermoscopic images of their spots and submit them for review from the comfort of their home to support the early detection of skin cancer and other diseases.
The Results of Patient-Centric Care
Through adopting an accessible, engaging, and flexible patient-centric framework, care providers will be supported at every step of the process in providing enhanced services for optimized care outcomes. Utilizing this model, medical professionals have the opportunity to document patient cases with a greater level of efficiency and organization (due to a single, centralized software) while building a stronger rapport with their patients. As a result, it can be argued that they’ll have a better understanding of the patient’s case, leading to deeper insights allowing for proactive (not reactive) care.
Although still at the beginning of its journey, patient-centric care provides a strong argument in favor of transforming the healthcare system to one that puts patient well-being at the front lines, rather than shifting current resources to adhere to this same ultimate goal. Only through overturning the current framework in favor of advanced tools in dermoscopy, teledermatology, and beyond will patients be able to receive the proactive care they need to experience a higher quality of life.
-The MetaOptima Team
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