Prioritizing Patient-Centered Care

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<p>Despite significant strides toward being more "patient-centered," the U.S. health system still falls far short in ensuring that care is responsive to patients' needs, preferences, and values. But two new articles by Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis and colleagues show how primary care in the U.S. can be taken to the next level.<bR><br>One way to make patient-centered care a reality, Davis says, is to take a lesson from other countries. In her October <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=19035&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Faboutus%2Faboutus%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D225208%26%23doc225208">"From the President"</a> column, Davis highlights the Danish health care system, which she experienced first-hand several years ago. In Denmark, each physician practice is set up to handle same-day appointments and walk-ins, electronic prescribing networks link physicians and pharmacies, and physicians still make the occasional house call. "I call this truly 'patient-centered' medicine," Davis writes, "and I'm a convert."<Br><Br>In <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=19034&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D307907%26%23doc307907">A 2020 Vision of Patient-Centered Primary Care,</a> published in the latest <em>Journal of General Internal Medicine,</em> Davis and Fund colleagues Stephen C. Schoenbaum, M.D., and Anne-Marie J. Audet, M.D., outline the seven attributes of patient-centered primary care, including "superb" access to care, patient engagement in care, and care coordination. The authors also offer policy recommendations, such as seeing that all Americans have a "medical home."<br><br>Davis also emphasizes the importance of care coordination and other components of patient-centered care in a recent <em>Seattle Times</em><a href="…; op-ed.</a> The health care system should look to the "supply side," rather than the demand side, for ways to achieve lower-cost yet higher-quality health care, she says.</p>