In days gone by, the doctor was considered a deity of sorts. Nurses and technicians stood at attention when this Olympian individual walked into a room. Most patients understood that they would be wise to follow the doctor's orders with precision and without question. That was doctor-centered medicine.
Patient-centered medicine revolves around the needs and expectations of the patient. This medical model has developed somewhat organically, in the interest of improving outcomes. Patients know things about themselves that doctors don't, and the two work better together by leveraging each others' expertise.
In a patient-centered model, physicians examine situations from the patient's point of view. It is important to make sure the patient understands all instructions, that the medication is covered or inexpensive enough to be affordable, and that next steps are arranged before discharge. The extra time ensures a better outcome.
Patient-centered medicine has brought many changes, from the way appointments are made to the way the laboratory is run.
In the past, when bloodwork needed to be done, the patient had to drive to the laboratory, sit in the waiting room until called, and endure a painful search for an elusive vein. Patient-centered medicine prizes less painful and intrusive methods, such as microsampling, in which 10-30 microliters of blood can be taken from a pricked finger. The blood is absorbed onto special collecting samplers and then dried and stored at room temperature. The tiny amount sampled makes the experience easier for patients with severe anemia, or for infants and children.
With microsampling, the patient has less anxiety, inconvenience, and pain, and is more likely to get the blood sample done in the first place. The results can get to the doctor more quickly and treatment can be started earlier. Microsampling is especially important in monitoring chronic disease. According to patient satisfaction surveys, patients are far happier with the microsampling technique and far more cooperative and involved in managing their diseases. Outcomes are improved.
Microsampling is patient-centered medicine at work.