Health Care Providers: Patient Autonomy & Alternative Routes of Care

Find two more posts based on this research here

Health care providers (HCPs) are acutely aware of the impact of socio-political shifts on costs of care, which makes salient how HCPs view the “patient as partner” model.

The mission of health care providers is to help improve the lives of patients. This involves identifying proper preventive care practices, selecting fitting treatment options and helping patients manage chronic illnesses. But there is a growing trend of patients searching for health care information online, complicating the mission of HCPs, as searching can quickly go from information about treatment options to self-diagnosis.

This trend makes more sense when you consider environments with long wait times or concerns about the availability of care. For health care providers, this patient practice is a rising tide that they must decide to ride in order to maintain their position or risk sinking. In the health care space, the framework for patient-provider collaboration is often referred to as “patient as partner.” The aim of this practice is to increase the level of patient engagement by valuing their input and experience in determining care plans.

APCO Insight recently conducted a global survey of health care providers in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the United States to understand their perceptions of the industry, their profession and their predictions for the future of care. This study uncovered conflicting attitudes regarding the “patient as partner” paradigm. Here we share some insights about provider perceptions of patient self-care practices.

As expected, providers had a heightened awareness of the “patient as partner” trend, with 79% agreeing that patients increasingly have their own views about appropriate treatment options. Further, providers seem to value their patients’ input and see the partner model as efficacious.  Specifically, 89% agreed that involving patients in treatment plans for their chronic condition improves compliance and health outcomes.

However, across markets, health care providers still want a balance of power. Providers put a caveat on self-care practices:  three-quarters (77%) agreed that patients should take care of themselves and make choices about care, but the choice should be made from options identified by doctors.

The efficacy of the “patient as partner” model will certainly be determined as health care systems, advocacy groups and policy organizations continue to develop and evaluate “patient as partner” frameworks. Adopting this framework, however, is critical to maintaining provider’s centrality in the decision making process, affirming trust and rapport between patient and provider, and ensuring HCPs are able to continue to improve the lives of their patients.