Inquiry into patient centred care in the 21st century
In June 2014 the Royal College of General Practitioners commissioned an independent panel to lead an inquiry into patient centred care in the 21st century - with the aim of identifying cost effective solutions to the medical, social and financial challenges posed by rising levels of multimorbidity.
The report sets out to define what a ‘patient centred’ approach to care means and identify why it is important. It concludes that clinicians must work with patients in a very different way, providing personalised care and empowering patients to play an active role in managing their health. The report also calls for a seismic shift in the way that general practice is delivered, so that practices come together as federations or networks and work with a range of other services to deliver coordinated and proactive care in the community.
The report identifies three core, interrelated elements of patient centred care:
- A holistic–or ‘whole person’– approach to patient care, that considers an individual’s needs as a whole rather than treating medical problems in isolation.
- Flexible care that tailors support according to an individual’s personal priorities, needs and individually defined outcomes.
- The need for a collaborative relationship between patients and the professionals involved in caring for them, through which patients are empowered to be equal partners in their own care.
It sets out a number of changes to support the development of patient-centred services in the community based around general practice:
- Empowering patients, carers and communities through approaches such as supporting self-management and personalised care planning
- Supporting patient-centred professional practice, through approaches such as training and multi-disciplinary working
- Enabling service providers to change, through approaches such as encouraging collaboration between practices and improving out of hours care
- Improving commissioning through approaches such as co-commissioning and patient held budgets
- Creating the right policy and operational infrastucture through approaches such as developing clinical guidelines that reinforce patientcentred care and enable professionals to deliver personalised care
The report sets out a series of recommendations for action at different levels within the health system to enable these changes to be implemented.