Perhaps the most impactful approach to caring is to first recognize and ask about clues that patients are struggling to take care of their health, and then to adapt care to their particular needs and circumstances. For over a decade, Dr. Weiner’s research team has explored this two-step process, which they term “contextualizing care.”
In the first phase of their research, they trained a team of actors as unannounced standardized patients who would see a physician and indicate that personal struggles were undermining their health care. In the second phase they invited real patients with complex chronic conditions to audio record their visits. Encounters were sorted according to whether the care plan was contextualized, and then patients were followed for up to nine months. When clinicians made the effort to contextualize care, patients had better healthcare outcomes and there was less overuse and misuse of medical services. Remarkably, contextualizing care didn’t lengthen the visit. Dr. Weiner extended the research to include nursing, pharmacists and front desk clerks. During this webinar, he describes evidence that shows that listening, asking purpose-driven questions and adapting care plans to meet patients’ needs really does matter.
During this webinar, Dr. Weiner helps participants to describe the essential role of patient context in planning appropriate care, define “contextualized care” and its antonym “contextual error” and outline the implications for healthcare outcomes and cost of attending to patient context during the medical encounter.