There is a quality movement in healthcare that is replacing the word patient with the words “customer owner”.
The healthcare system should be focused on serving the needs of the customer owner.
The healthcare system should be accountable for actions taken to serve the customer owners.
The healthcare system is owned by the customer owner.
Accordingly, the customer owners should have a voice in the design, selection and delivery of services. They should also decide who should deliver these services.
South Central Group in Alaska is one group that has replaced the patient with the customer owner.
They have revolutionized the delivery of services by being responsive to the needs of the customer owners who are real partners.
In the South Central Group, the doctors have to be taught to be collaborative and to be effective team members. Changing cultures takes a long time and a solid commitment of all parties is needed.
If a community wants to improve the delivery of services, then the advocates should encourage the elimination of the word patient and adopt the “customer owner” label.
Advocates might even consider name tags with customer owner written on them.