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Reflections on Patient-Centeredness for Quality Care

The term patient-centeredness is more than a concept and word when aiming for quality.

Patient-centeredness at a minimum refers to centering care around the patient.

Patient-centered care is one of the six elements of quality as defined by The National Academy of Medicine in Crossing the Quality Chasm.

Taken from the executive summary of that report:

"Patient-centered—providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions." (

Patients are people first, often with a lot going on outside of the immediate appointment, episode, or treatment.

Perhaps a televisit (over an in person visit), and prescription delivery services will help address some compliance issues related to distance, obligations, or cost to travel and park.

Perhaps knowing the patient's name when you walk into the room will help the patient feel as though you are there for him/her/them at that moment in time (no matter how many other patients there might be on your list that day).

Perhaps when patients have questions, time is taken to truly listen to what is being asked. I believe questions are clues as to where there is an interest in knowing more that has not yet been clearly understood. (The discharge sheet is simply not enough to count as patient-centered patient education).

These are just a few simple thoughts that I've shared in conversation many times when we think about how to improve care quality through patient-centeredness. 

Informatics and health IT both have a role in patient-centeredness. Just from this short thought I am having using examples such as televisit platform, e-prescription services, EHRs, and hopefully even more advanced education platforms in the future (I talk about this in my book, EHRs for Quality Nursing and Health Care under the Future Directions chapter), opportunities to enhance patient-centeredness are all around us. 

Patients are people first. While I understand that patient-centered has the word patient within it, perhaps in the future, we may consider person centered  to help provide a holistic approach to the many complexities that come with a person seeking patient care. 


Tiffany Kelley PhD MBA RN-BC



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