PCC: a perk of the program

By Helle Gjønnes Møller

At Utah State University, they have been committed to person-centered care (PCC) for quite some time. To further embed PCC and establish a formalized and consistent approach, their University Hearing and Balance Clinic recently joined the Inspired by Ida program. We spoke with Clinic Director Cache Pitt and Clinical Supervisor Kali Markle about their passion for PCC and their incentives for joining the program.

Building trust and avoiding bad habits
When considering why PCC is a priority in their clinic, Pitt explains, “When I go to the doctor, I want to be the one in control of my own healthcare and decision-making. I want my healthcare provider to be my coach and give me advice. And that’s how I want to treat my patients. The Inspired by Ida program is a formalized way for us to be able to teach our students how to work with patients so they know they can trust us as their coaches and providers – which in the end will help improve outcomes.”

Markle agrees, “Our team used the program as a stepping point for all of us to be on the same page – especially in terms of applying the same concepts in teaching our students. As the first stop in their education towards an audiology clinic program, we’re able to show them both academically and clinically what PCC is from the get-go – so they’re not building bad habits that we must then turn around later.”

Not just an abstract ideal
Across various healthcare provisions, educational curricula tend to be technically focused. “No matter what their discipline, healthcare providers are taught to do their technical skill and the human aspect is often overlooked,” says Pitt. “In our program, I would like to think that we emphasize the importance of working with human beings. And I think that by doing it in a formalized way – like we’re doing now – it becomes more than an ideal or concept. The Inspired program provides a foundation to actually make it happen.”

Markle concurs, “I think the students feel the technical skills are super important to master. But once they are in the clinic eight hours a day, they are going to pick up on those skills. However, if they aren’t working on their counseling skills from the beginning, it will be much harder to change the way they go about it. It doesn’t matter how well you can program a hearing aid if the patient doesn’t understand why you are doing it to begin with.”

Helping people achieve their goals
In considering what has changed in their clinic after joining Inspired, Pitt says, “For me, the golden nuggets were the video demonstrations of motivational interviewing. I didn’t really have a formalized way of doing it – I knew the outcome that I wanted to achieve, I just didn’t necessarily know how to get there. So, for me that was huge – learning a structured approach to motivational interviewing. I think that is a solid skill for learning how to help people achieve their own goals without manipulating them.”

“The audiology-specific examples were also valuable”, says Markle. “There has been a lot of buzz around PCC in healthcare generally, but we don’t always have great examples of what PCC could look like in audiology. We were doing many of these things already, but we didn’t have specific tools to document or ensure consistency in the way we are practicing.”

A perk of the program
For the students, PCC also appears to have a strong appeal. Markle states, “We definitely show PCC as a perk of our program. We are really big on counseling, and we show that as a way to boost our program. The students start grad school wanting to help people hear – and what they realize is that they can impact people’s lives beyond that. It’s meaningful for them, I think. So much more meaningful because they’ve played a part.”

If you wish to follow Utah State’s example, visit Inspired by Ida for details.