With over 500,000 people affected by primary immunodeficiencies in the United States alone, experts are looking for ways to help doctors manage the needs of these patients. One significant point of discussion is the importance of patient-centered care. This was one of the key points addressed during a recent symposium at the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology Scientific Meeting. This important topic was brought up alongside topics such as medical complications that accompany these deficiencies and ideas of how to better communicate with patients who suffer from primary immunodeficiencies.
What is Patient-Centered Care?
To understand why patient-centered care is so important, one must first understand precisely what it is. In general, patient-centered care is the process of a medical provider and a patient working together to develop a plan of treatment that considers more than just the disease or disorder. Instead, the plan of treatment looks at the impact that different care options can have on the patient while also taking into account the patient’s personal preferences and opinions. This keeps the patient’s wellbeing at the center of medical decisions.
Given the impact that primary immunodeficiencies can have on those affected by them, it is easy to see why medical practitioners might consider patient-centered care options. These immunodeficiencies can affect quality of life in a number of ways, and taking the patient’s comfort and preferences into consideration is one way to combat this. By putting the patient first when considering treatment options for primary immunodeficiencies, a doctor or other practitioner can take into account the time and effort involved with various tests and treatments to find the least obtrusive ways to develop a functional treatment plan.
One big reason why patient-centered care is seeing an increased focus when it comes to treating primary immunodeficiencies is that patients who are satisfied with their treatment plans are more likely to adhere to them. A lack of adherence is one major cause of treatment failure, which can lead to a number of complications, including bronchiectasis, immune dysregulation, and issues with opportunistic infections. Developing a treatment plan that patients can adhere to may also reduce the need for long-term use of harsher treatments like strong antimicrobial medications or repeated surgeries that may require steroid use or pain management regimens afterward.
The Future Patient-Centered Care
Treatment options for those who have primary immunodeficiencies are often complex, particularly when dealing with immune dysregulation. Changes in the immune system can be difficult to diagnose as they affect different patients in different ways. This is another reason that patient-centered care is so important; because it takes the patient’s entire wellbeing into account, it allows for more adaptation based on how the patient feels in addition to the results of tests and other lab work. As therapy options become more precise for those with these deficiencies, patient-centered care will become even more vital to the effective treatment of these patients and will provide them with new options to improve their quality of life and overall level of wellness. New advances may also increase the likelihood of treatment adherence and possibly even make detection of immune shifts and dysregulation easier than ever before.
By Jack Gerard from In The Cloud Copy