STANDARDIZATION VS. PERSONALIZED CARE
We are well into the new year and I cannot think of a better way to kick off Thinking Thursday TIPs for 2020 than to layout where successful healthcare organizations are headed.
I specifically chose to revisit this topic because it is THE key to your organization’s success in 2020 and beyond.
Standardization means different things to different people. Standardization in healthcare is often defined as the process by which healthcare products and services are chosen by a committee of key stakeholders, considering evidence-based results, to ensure quality patient care while adhering to fiscal responsibility.
Standardization is a commonly misunderstood term in the healthcare industry and can take on a negative connotation as a “cookie-cutter” approach. For healthcare leaders looking for a competitive advantage, standardization represents efficiency. Standardization helps decrease variation, which increases quality and safety while reducing costs. From a healthcare manager’s perspective, standardization helps foster an environment of quality patient care.
Standardization, especially in healthcare, minimizes the risk of errors, increases patient safety, and can actually improve the patient experience.
For physicians and other healthcare providers, standardization can mean something entirely different. Standardization is often viewed negatively and as a means of control. Many physicians are not comfortable embracing standardization unless there is demonstrated evidence it benefits patient outcomes. Nurses, on the other hand, believe standardization is about cost savings, efficiency, and patient safety. Nurses often see standardization as a time-saver. The less time they spend searching for the proper medical equipment, the more time they can spend with the patient. Subsequently, patients believe that standardization is for their benefit, but they are typically more focused on the manner they are treated rather than the methods used to treat them.
Opponents on the other side of the debate – the side of personalized care — call it “cookie-cutter medicine”, and a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating patients. Those critics often favor personalization or a more personalized approach to medicine. They embrace the concept that each patient should be treated as unique individuals.
The number one, most effective technique to make every patient feel they are indeed receiving personalized care is to train and ensure healthcare professionals treat every patient with compassion.
In the Patient Experience Journal article titled, “Enhancing patient experience by training local trainers in fundamental communication skills”, it’s interesting that in the interest of improving patient experience through enhancing communication skills, the need to standardize the approach is empathized. On page 39 of the article, standardization is mentioned.
“In order for future-trainers to become expert small group facilitators of fundamental communication skills, it is essential to make certain that all participants in TTT have a standardized approach and common syntax.”
The word personalization can also mean different things to different people. Many assume personalization to be genetics and personalized medicine with customized drugs and medical devices. However, personalization can simply mean making each patient feel like an individual, rather than “one of the masses”.
As the value-based care movement makes its transition, these varying perceptions of standardization and personalized care will likely take new shape. While standardization of protocols, surgical checklists, clinical pathways, and treatment regimens are necessary for evidence-based practices, it is also important not to over-standardize the patient experience.
SUCCESS in 2020
Successful organizations in 2020 will partner with physicians to reduce costs while simultaneously improving quality of care, increasing patient safety, and improving the patient experience.
Successful healthcare leaders understand how to standardize and personalize patient care, concurrently. Together they will implement standardization and personalization that complements one another so that patients do not feel they are being subjected to a “one-size-fits-all” “standard” care experience.