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Patient-Provider Relationship: How Important Is This?

November 3rd, 2015 9:16am

Patient-Provider Relationship: How Important Is This?

Our nation has become used to the standard doctor-patient relationship: 15-minute appointments (if you’re lucky) and in-and-out of the doctor’s office as quickly as possible. The medical provider will most often address the patient’s needs at hand, provide a diagnosis, and offer a treatment option before sending the patient on their way. Most times, patients and medical providers don’t have the time or opportunity to get further acquainted. But studies are beginning to shed light on the importance and impact of building patient-provider relationships.

Harvard Medical School research director Erin Sullivan and co-director Andy Ellner, MD recently released an article outlining data from organizations that have placed patient-provider relationships at the core of their treatment protocol.  These study leaders are conducting treatment programs that promote progressive, long-term outcomes and cost savings simply by improving the relationship developed between the provider team and the patient.

What this tells us is that the relationship development between a patient and a provider can and will impact the outcome of care. But how do we address this with such tight provider schedules and limited communication between provider teams? The answer is a movement toward interdisciplinary care models.

Interdisciplinary care brings multiple specialists into a patient’s care plan, often under one roof, eliminating the dominant trend of one-track treatment solutions and breaking the barrier between the lack of provider communication. Functional Restoration Programs are centered upon interdisciplinary care and are beginning to become more common in the United States. These programs allow the provider and patient the opportunity for longer appointment times, increased attention to treatment needs, and a larger focus on long-term care and outcomes.

By moving toward this type of treatment model, patients can have the chance to improve treatment relationships with their provider teams while simultaneously working toward healing both body and mind, producing longer and lasting health improvements and gains.

 

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