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Should We Care About Person-Centered Care?

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As political conversations continue about healthcare coverage and funding from coast to coast, dental associations and community-based organisations remain firm in their call for expanded oral healthcare coverage for Canadians.

From a global perspective, researchers and dentists hope to see oral healthcare recognised as a critical component of the overall health and wellness conversation and included in healthcare policy. Among them is Dr. Michael Glick, Editor of the Journal of the American Dental Association, and professor at the School of Dental Medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In a recent JADA editorial, Dr. Glick tackled this topic by imploring dentists to begin by establishing a common understanding of person-centered care.

In his commentary titled, “Precision-, patient-, and person-centered care, oh my”, Dr. Glick posits that, “Without common definitions of basic concepts, such as person-centered care, we will not be able to generate person-centered care models for dentistry or integrate oral health within overall health and primary care.

He continued saying, “Unless we sit at the table and have a common understanding of these and other prevailing health care concepts, we and our patients will not be able to argue for the importance of oral health, and oral health will continue to be marginalized.”  

Because of the current focus on universal health coverage (UHC) at the global level, Dr. Glick raises the concern that in the absence of a unified definition from the broader dentistry community, person-centered care could be left out of UHC framework altogether.

Additional Key Takeaways

  • Traditional, one-size-fits-all complaint-diagnosis treatment of patients does not consider the values and preferences of the individual patient.
  • A person-centered care approach conceptualizes the body systems as interconnected within a continuum and is rooted in respect, trust, and sharing health care decisions.
  • Unless a treatment outcome is satisfactory to the patient, it should not be considered successful.
  • A paradigm shift towards person-centered care will create tensions with health care guidelines and quality assessments.
  • Person-centered care is not about providing a specific intervention that the patient wants, but rather providing care that is important to the patient.
  • This model can present legal liability issues as well as issues for providers not skilled in evidence-based dentistry/biomedical literature.
  • An agreed-to, common definition and understanding of person-centered care will allow collaboration within an interprofessional environment and in health care systems placing increasing emphasis on value-based health outcomes.

 

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Until next time!

CDA Oasis Team

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