The Misconceptions of Patient-Centered Care: Myth #3


Over the last thirty years, patient-centered care has gone from being merely an idealistic concept to a fundamental and expected approach to care delivery. Today, Planetree, a non profit organization, leads the charge in the advancement of such care practices. In this series, we discuss and disprove the myths that Planetree has identified as challenges to achieving patient-centered care.

Before debunking these myths, it is important to explain what we mean by “patient-centered care.” As defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), it is “providing care that is respectful and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” In short? It means taking the patient into consideration when making clinical decisions.

Today, we address the following myth:  Providing patient-centered care is too costly

Don’t I need to spend money to make improvements? 

It is a common misconception that in order to become engrained in everyday practice, patient-centered care requires costly initiatives. While some hospitals have made large investments to enhance the patient experience, providing care that incorporates patient and caregiver preferences stems more from an organization’s attitude and culture than its resources or equipment.

Culture Change is Free.

Empowering staff members to make the most of each patient interaction is much more valuable than simply hiring more staff members or purchasing commodities to “wow” patients. Additionally, many hospitals have successfully implemented volunteer programs to enhance their offerings and provide additional support for patients at little to no cost.

Initiatives such as employee engagement rounding and volunteer training drive positive culture change and ultimately improve patient satisfaction, quality of care, staff satisfaction, and staff retention. Such programs do not require heavy financial investments, and any costs are quickly offset by the benefits provided. In the end, by enhancing the quality of patient care, these efforts can lead to revenue growth through higher HCAHPS scores and VBP bonuses.

For more information on debunking the misconceptions of patient-centered care, visit

Barb Davis

Barbara Davis, MA has been involved in quality in healthcare for over 30 years, and currently serves as CipherHealth's SVP of Clinical Services. She has worked in complex health care environments, including a university health system, an HMO health plan, and multi-hospital system. Her areas of expertise include quality improvement and Lean, service excellence focusing on organizational culture and the patient experience, patient safety and reliability, regulatory issues and organizational strategic goal setting. Currently she sits on the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver.