Pinnacle Keynote Speaker: Make Person-Centered Care a Priority

Pinnacle Keynote Speaker: Make Person-Centered Care a Priority

News Aug 08, 2017

Many times, trauma can be mitigated by establishing an emotional connection to a patient, said keynote speaker Martha Hayward during the opening ceremonies of the Pinnacle EMS Conference, held Aug. 7-11 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Hayward delivered "What EMS Leaders Can Learn from the IHI About Patient-Centered Care" Tuesday evening Aug. 8.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recently changed its preferred terminology from patient-centered care to person-centered care, Hayward said. The mind-set among providers should thus shift from providing services "to" or "for" a patient, to providing services "with" the patient.

Don't focus on patient satisfaction, focus on the patient experience, Hayward told the filled ballroom--not just whether you made the patient better, but how you made the patient feel.

Through a series of candid anecdotes, Hayward illustrated what person-centered care looks like.

She recalled an episode of being loaded into an ambulance following an auto accident during which the EMS provider sat next to her and asked her about her gardening hobby. "My anxiety level went way down," she said. "He wasn't focused on the emergency. He was focused on me. That's patient-centered care."

During a less-complimentary episode, Hayward underwent a double mastectomy but was never asked by her providers whether she elected to undergo reconstruction—it was always an assumption on the part of the care team and plans were put in motion. Hayward declined the procedure.

"We're not listening to patients. We're directing them along paths that are comfortable for us," she said.

Hayward joined the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in March 2011 as the Lead for Public and Patient Engagement. A cancer survivor, she is a founding board member of the nonprofit Women’s Health Exchange and served on the Patient and Family Advisory Council of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Her career experience includes over 20 years in marketing and fundraising in the areas of health, politics and education. She is a partner at Donovan & Vicenti, a branding and web design firm.

The IHI is an independent not-for-profit organization based in Cambridge, Mass., whose mission is to improve health and healthcare worldwide.

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In addressing her audience, Hayward identified EMS professionals as the ideal care providers to make a difference in shifting the model toward person-centered healthcare.

"This profession is the most underrated profession I can think of," she said of EMS, adding a personal connection to the field. Hayward's brother was an EMT who was killed in a 1991 medevac flight accident in New York.

"This work is underrated for what this work does for others, and for what this work does to you," she said.

Hayward sees the role of EMS expanding, particularly as it relates to communication between the patient, provider and family. Think of yourselves as the leaders of this change, she said.

"Go out into the community," she concluded. "Make others understand what you do."

Jonathan Bassett
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