The New VIP: Very Important Patient
Today we have access to more health information and resources than ever before. Patients have evolved from silent partners in the health care system to savvy consumers. They expect more. And physicians are responding with specialized care and services that put the patient first.
Research shows that patients who trust their doctors and feel their needs are respected require fewer tests and tend to be in better health. Over the last few years, there has been increased attention on the patient-centered care model. In fact, the Institute of Medicine has named it a pillar of quality medical care. In this approach, the physician focuses on the patient, not just the health condition to be treated.
New Ways to Connect
Beyond patient-centered care, what exactly does VIP—or very important patient—service entail? You can:
- Stay in touch 24/7. As many as two-thirds of doctors now communicate with patients via email. But that’s not all. Secure websites called patient portals let you log on anytime. You can view or update records, book visits, download resources and request prescription refills. You can often send and receive secure messages, too.
- Follow your doctor on social media. Many health care providers post updates on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. They may send drug safety or disaster alerts, or provide tips on infant care, managing chronic diseases and more.
You Lead Your Care
Being a VIP comes with responsibilities for patients. Patient-centered care works best when you take an active role in your treatment. Ask questions if you don’t understand what your doctor tells you. Use the tools available to you to follow up between appointments. And make sure you’re clear on any agreements you sign with your doctor’s office, as well as what’s covered under your health care plan.