SHEREE DIBAISE, PT: Relational-centric health care: Can we do it?

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Our health care arena has faced many challenges in the last few years. We have a value based model of care where we are being asked to measure every intervention, provide outcomes on everything we do and prove our methods of treatment with research driven data in order to get paid. We have been working in a patient centric health care model that has been structured around the patient to improve care, which is advantageous. But what is happening to our health care providers in the middle of all these challenges is part of a greater problem that is of concern to us in the medical field.

Health care providers and their patients have to be able to develop a unique relationship with each other that facilitates both of their needs. The patient needs to get the care they desire, but the provider needs to be able to have them understand what, why and how this care needs to be delivered so everyone is happy. This is often where things get complicated.

When we fail to look at our health care providers as part of the medical model we get into trouble. In the medical field it is evidenced that there is an increasing rate of burnout and compassion fatigue is escalating, and yet we are not recognizing that what keeps the health care system working optimally for everyone involved is our providers being healthy as well.

The “Three R's” are a great way to look at this complex model shift in health care, from a patient-centric to a relational-centric model. The “Three R's” stand for, respect plus responsibility equals healthy relationships. This relational model of health care is the only way our health care model can continue to work well for everyone involved.

In a relational-centric model, the patient and provider are able to build a mutual respect for each other based on the needs and goals of where the patient should go. The patient and provider take responsibility for each of their parts to assist in the wellness plan. This means a provider is listening to the patient and the patient is listening to the provider. This listening skill is a learned activity. As this progression occurs, the relationship develops and long-term health can be accomplished, with both parties staying well.

According to the Center for Active Leadership, listening consists of seven steps:

1. Be attentive

2. Ask open ended questions

3. Ask probing questions

4. Request clarification

5. Paraphrase

6. Be attuned to and reflect feelings

7. Summarize

In order for these relationships to develop it takes time and effort. Active listening has to be practiced and patience needs to be developed on each person's part. Please take the time to develop your listening skills to develop a higher level of success for your health care interaction.

Relational-centric health care will prevail and we will work to develop this in our community so that we can take care of people better, for long-term health success.

• • •

Sheree DiBiase, PT, is the owner of Lake City Physical Therapy. She and her staff are dedicated to relational-centric health care. Please call us at our Coeur d'Alene office, 208-667-1988; in Hayden, 208-762-2100 and in Spokane Valley at 509-891-2623. We accept insurance and cash patients.

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