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Researcher works for a more responsive medical treatment

a doctor's stethoscope

By Juliano Oliveira

The fact of having a general practitioner as a father meant that during childhood, Bryce Brickley had all the necessary medical care needed.

Years later, and now a researcher and PhD candidate at Griffith University, Mr Brickley is confident that patient-centred care must be adequately widespread over the country.

Patient-centred care can be understood as respectful and responsive to the individual patient’s preferences, needs, and values, according to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

“Whenever I was sick, my dad factored in all aspects of my life, and everything in his personal knowledge about me was put in his treatment,” Mr Brickley said.

“And I guess other patients in general practice were not having that same relationship with their doctor, not always leaving the GP with a positive outcome. That made me think that I wish that everyone had the same experience as I had.”

Researcher and PhD candidate Bryce Brickley

Mr Brickley’s research comprises four central studies based on published literature throughout the world in a specific timeframe. The first results are being incorporated in an initial map for patient-centred care improvement.

It comes down to achieve better relationships in primary care with GPS and patients, increase the levels of trust between them, and finally reach better health outcomes and quality of life.

“In the case of many patients’ experience, spending time with their GP, nurturing relationships and building trust is not always possible. Patients in our study wanted GPs and general practices to give more attention to the practice environment because, as one patient participant said, “Patient-centred care starts as soon as you walk in that door”.

Vital pillars of patient-centred care are the employment of dignity, compassion, and respect when treating a patient. These features are wrapped up in concepts of personalised care and support.

“This new model of patient-centred care can be used in practice to identify new, practical strategies to support primary health organisations, consumers, and clinicians,” Mr Brickley said.

In the wake of COVID-19, Mr Brickley also highlights that the pandemic has brought challenges for the future of patient-centred care.

In April 2020, over 4.3 million health and medical services had been delivered to a total of more than three million patients through the telehealth items introduced by the Australian Government for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s some work to be done in the future. I’m examining the best way to deliver patient-centred care through telehealth. I don’t see it as too much of a bad thing. Sometimes, telehealth increases access to your GP by patients, which is a good thing. It also means that if patients need something as simple as medication or prescription, they will easily get it.”

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