As a nurse leader in an organization that highly regards the patient's perception of the care we provide, I appreciate the focus of "Patient-Centered Care: More than the Sum of Its Parts" (Putting Patients First, September 2010). The evidence is clear that this type of care improves disease outcomes and quality of life.
The Planetree designation may offer health care facilities a marketing advantage, but, I wonder, what's the true value of this to health care consumers? I'm not convinced that one visit to a facility should lead to a validation of its processes and practices. I fear an overreliance on this designation rather than on more objective data that's gathered over time. These are a better gauge of the level of patient centeredness an organization has achieved and may include data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, quality and safety outcomes, readmission rates, and employee and physician satisfaction ratings as well as Magnet designation or Press Ganey awards.
Patient-centered care is a process of ongoing improvement. Epstein and colleagues assert that patient-centered care should be a part of health care policy and reform because it's "the right thing to do."1 We must be held accountable as nurse leaders, ensuring that the best evidence-based care is a basic tenet at our facilities, whether or not it's officially designated.
Michael Y. Walsh, BSN, RN-BC
Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital Dallas
1. Epstein RM, et al. Why the nation needs a policy push on patient-centered health care. Health Aff