You’ll often hear myself and other health care providers use the term “patient-centred care” and while this may seem self-explanatory there are three main components (with equal importance) that contribute to provide patients with the best care possible. These are outlined below:
Component 1: Clinical Experience
This part is my job. Like lawyers, I use precedent. If something has worked in the past with a similar complaint, I could chose to include that type of treatment in your plan. This is also true vice versa. It’s about finding what works. Clinical experience is what builds a practitioner’s ability to make the decisions for their patients. For example, my clinical rotations brought me both to the outskirts of Toronto, treating several repetitive or sporting injuries; while my second rotation was downtown Toronto at Sherbourne Health Centre, treating several complex cases- both of which provided me with differing insights into the profession.
Component 2: Current Literature
Patient-centred care takes into consideration what the most current literature says on a topic of, for example: diagnosis, efficacy of certain tests, and treatment outcomes. Behind the scenes, this is what evidence-based practitioners are doing constantly. It is important to adapt to the changing literature and make clinical decisions with it in mind. I have heard colleagues say that our chiropractic education begins after graduation- where it is our responsibility, and our duty to the patient, to remain up on progress being made in the field of musculoskeletal health.
Component 3: Patient Preference
This is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle. A good treatment plan will have your (the patient’s) personal preference in mind. While recommendations will be made, you are ultimately the one who decides to proceed with the plan of management. Chiropractors have several tools in their toolbelt, which means that we can adapt to these preferences and create an effective plan that both the you and the practitioner can be happy with.
I hope this helps to clarify what patient-centred care is. As always, questions welcome!