Health and Wellness

Accelerating Patient-Centered Healthcare



Kerry Amato, executive director, health innovation at HIMSS, speaks with Gwen Darien, executive vice president for patient advocacy and engagement for the National Patient Advocacy Foundation. They discuss what it means to amplify the patient voice to reform the healthcare delivery system, making it more patient-centered with more equitable access to quality care. Darien also expands upon the important role tech plays in breaking down barriers with patients and creating better health outcomes in the process.

Darien is a policy and media leader in patient advocacy – and a three-time cancer survivor herself. In this podcast discussion, she tapped into her experience and personal history to talk about the meaning of patient-centered care, where the patient is not just the object or passive recipient of clinical or medical care.

“One of the things critical to patient-centered care is ensuring that patient’s lived experience and expertise is elevated to have the same weight as clinical expertise and is a part of the conversation and dialogue in setting up people’s goals and how their healthcare is delivered,” she said.

In this podcast conversation, Darien presented her model for positive relationships with providers and the importance of avoiding financial catastrophe due to medical debt. This greatly influences patient outcomes. Darien also spoke about how social determinants of health affect total cost of care. She explored why patients are labeled “noncompliant,” often due to issues beyond their control and touches on the issue of reciprocal trust between providers and patients and the critical role this plays in treatment.

Darien said she believes technology can be an aid to better patient care and relationships or a barrier. She discussed examples of breaking down tech barriers, such as sharing screens during a telehealth visit or looking up information together with a patient. She shared about a pediatrician who used electronic medical records to create better relationships by showing patients how to navigate them, and by simply turning the computer screen to the patient so it is no longer a barrier to accessing their own healthcare information.

Darien closed by offering personal advice to other female leaders in healthcare, encouraging team building and growing a circle of trusted individuals for support and honest conversations. 

The views and opinions expressed in this content or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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