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What is Patient-Centered Care?

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Patient-centered care is a set of strategies designed to empower patients, physicians, health systems, and insurance companies to improve the quality of information, collaboration, decision making, and patient outcomes. It is the time honored medical tradition of “putting the patient first”.


The current phraseology of strategies of patient-center care are known as “the triple aim.” The goal is to optimize health system performance and improve the lives of patients. The components of the Triple Aim are: better care, better experience, and lower cost.


Better Care


There is a big push in healthcare to actually measure and improve the quality of care given by providers. In the past, physicians and health systems were incentivized by the volume of care they produced. Now, there is an emphasis on incentivizing physicians and hospitals based on their health outcomes and performance. MIPS is an example of a quality measurement for physicians, where they can get extra reimbursement for meeting certain quality measures.


Better Experience


Improving the quality of care leads to a better patient experience. When the patient is well, chronic diseases are managed, and care is more streamlined, the patient is happy. There are several things hospital systems are doing to improve the patient experience and remove barriers to care. Telehealth is an example that improves the quality of care. The patient may not even have to leave his or her own living room when they are sick, to be diagnosed and treated. Hospital systems are also investing in consumer strategies, so that receiving care, scheduling appointments, paying bills and patient outreach is an efficient online experience through the patient portal.


Lower Cost


Through Value-Based arrangements, health organizations are encouraged to have better outcomes, at the lowest possible costs of care. Value-based care seeks to eliminate unnecessary tests, procedures and other wasteful spending that drives up the cost of healthcare. Medicare Shared Savings Programs, Accountable Care Organizations, Performance-based contracts with commercial payers, Bundled Payments, and Capitation are programs put physicians on the hook to provide good, quality care at the most efficient cost.

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