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The “New” Science of Patient Engagement

The US healthcare system is struggling to explain how the many technological advances have resulted in anything less than the most effective healthcare system in the world. In spite of the tremendous gains in innovation and technology, the US healthcare system falls well below number one in many areas.

This reality serves to help us step back and consider “why”?  “What’s the issue?” Or I should say, “what are the issues?” We can all likely agree that this in no one single issue, but rather a complex set of variables that have created the current situation.

This course as part of Patient Success Systems in collaboration with the IAOM-US and is designed to focus in on one component of the complex picture of a fractured healthcare system.  

  • What happens between the patient and provider that contributes to a successful outcome? 

This is the fundamental working element in the complex human biological system that is designed to heal.  You have a patient and you have a provider. It is what happens between these two individuals, the Therapeutic Alliance, that requires a deep understanding so that from this understanding we can consider how this relationship impacts the success of other systems.  It is time to fully step into being “psychologically informed” (Main & George, 2011).  And we need training to do it well. 

Although much has been said about the virtues of Patient-Centered Care, I would suggest that the attribute is not accurate and is creating a situation that is not sustainable.  The patient-centered mantra sets the stage for burnout for healthcare providers and attrition that can lead to a shortage of talented workers as the demands increase. We are seeing healthcare companies moving to find ways to make healthcare more efficient yet often at the cost of providing the most essential element for a successful outcome.  There is a heightened awareness that we must be moving from the Triple to Quadruple Aim in healthcare (Bodenheimer & Sinsky, 2014)

What’s lacking is a full appreciation for the role of the patient and the interaction between the patient and the experts guiding them in their care.  We cannot technology patients better! Procedures are an essential part of how we help people, however, they cannot account for the fully cured or healed patient.  Although we have procedures that are truly miraculous, such as disease curing drugs and surgeries that save lives, there is still an element that is only beginning to be fully understood. 

Regardless of your profession, if you are in healthcare and interact directly with patients, you will gain a deeper understanding of how the relationship has an impact on the success of the healing process.  We now have enough science to not only describe the essential nature of this relationship, but also some direction on the skills each of us should have as we strive to improve our ability to guide our patients toward a successful outcome.  

This course is designed to challenge many of our assumptions about clinical outcomes and the way we care for patients.  We will not only challenge the assumptions, but also provide you with a deeper understanding of what exactly contributes to a successful outcome.  With this understanding you will be able to integrate what you currently know with the evolving neuroscience around patient engagement.

Bodenheimer, T., & Sinsky, C. (2014). From Triple to Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider. The Annals of Family Medicine, 12(6), 573–576. doi:10.1370/afm.1713

Main, C. J., & George, S. Z. (2011). Psychologically Informed Practice for Management of Low Back Pain: Future Directions in Practice and Research. Physical Therapy, 91(5), 820–824. doi:10.2522/ptj.20110060

Zale, E. L., Ring, D., & Vranceanu, A.-M. (2018). The Future of Orthopaedic Care. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 100(13), e89. doi:10.2106/jbjs.17.01159


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