Planning for the future is important. Even more so when it concerns your patients’ health.
In 2022, the Ministry of Health announced the 5 core components of Healthier SG that will drive the healthcare sector towards preventive care. One core component is Care Plans, whereby patients are encouraged to visit family doctors and create care plans for future health. The Healthier SG initiative reframes the way care is delivered to meet changing healthcare needs and improve patient outcomes. For hospitals and clinics, care plans play an important role in providing patient-centered care.
What is a care plan?
A care plan is a document detailing a patient’s healthcare information and involves planning for a patient’s future health. It provides patients, their families, and healthcare providers with information on care needs, preventive care actions, and addresses health risks so that informed decisions can be made regarding a patient’s health. A care plan can be reviewed regularly and evaluated to find out if the care is suited to a patient’s healthcare needs.
For example, for patients with dementia, their care plan can include the following aspects:
- Life history
- Personality, lifestyle, preferences
- Cognitive abilities and impairments, such as memory retention and information processing
- Comorbid conditions
- Health goals and action plans
Care plans are patient-centered as they are tailored to a patient’s individual needs and are based on their values and preferences in order to improve patient outcomes. Using these plans, patients and healthcare providers can explore how to achieve health goals and prevent diseases from occurring soon.
However, crafting care plans for many patients with various healthcare needs may be time-consuming. With this understanding, SGiMED’s Clinic Management System, Hummingbird, is equipped with a user-friendly and intuitive Care Plan template that can help clinics manage their workflow. Healthcare providers can easily keep track of their patients’ healthcare records and view them all in one place. Hummingbird also offers patients easy access to their personalised care plans so that doctors can stay in touch with them and their needs.
Benefits of care plans
1) Improved patient outcomes
The key benefit of patient care plans is that it ensures better long-term care. While care planning can begin at any stage for individuals, it is particularly important for two groups of patients:
- People with chronic diseases
Care plans are personalised to ensure that range of needs of each patient is met. With comprehensive care plans, patients are better able to live and recover within the comfort of their own homes and reduce their chances of being admitted to hospitals. For example, patients with chronic diseases often have to make many decisions regarding their lifestyle. This includes dietary choices and habits, activity levels, and medication. Thus, healthcare providers cannot always be with patients when they need them. As such, it is essential for healthcare providers and patients to form a good relationship and create a care plan that will allow patients to live productively alongside their health conditions.
As the elderly are usually faced with several chronic diseases, care plans are important as they help family members understand how these diseases will progress over time and how to better manage the patient’s care at home. Care plans support self-management, which can lead to better outcomes for patients with long-term conditions.
According to SingHealth, a good care plan is formed in consultation with the patient, their family, and their doctor. Patients and their families are highly involved in creating care plans as they are tailored according to a patient’s needs, preferences, and circumstances.
Care planning promotes inclusivity, as healthcare providers are in collaboration with patients rather than simply instructing, which accords compassion and dignity to the care planning process. Allowing patients to be involved in care planning makes them feel valued as their opinions are taken into consideration.
The involvement of patients also empowers them to take responsibility for their own health instead of solely relying on the healthcare system. The Health Foundation states that a better understanding of their health will boost patients’ confidence in self-management and making informed decisions for themselves. A 2014 study also found that when patients possess more knowledge about their health condition and have active involvement in making decisions regarding their care, they are more likely to adhere to treatment plans. Involving patients in their care planning can make a great difference in their healthcare journey.
3) Continuity of Care
In some ways, a care plan is an extension of a patient’s medical and health record while taking into consideration the needs and preferences of a patient. A 2018 report by the World Health Organisation suggests that care planning provides opportunities for integrated care, as health providers can coordinate to meet the health needs of patients and provide person-centered care. This reduces gaps in care as medical information and preferences of a patient are carried over from different health appointments, ensuring reduced variability in care between each provider.
Be Healthier SG Compliant with Care planning
Care plans can benefit your practice by improving patient outcomes as well as doctor-patient relations, which can lead to greater patient satisfaction and patient loyalty. As no two patients are the same, SGiMED ensures that a variety of care plan templates are available at your fingertips for efficient and flexible care planning during consultations.
Apart from care plans, providing patients with the best care also comes with healthcare providers having access to comprehensive patient information and records. SGiMED’s Hummingbird is working towards being NEHR-ready by September, to ensure that healthcare providers have the required direct and secure access to a patient’s medical information. With Hummingbird, you can be assured to be equipped with the right and essential information to create a holistic care plan to meet your patient’s needs.