Managing a family client as a healthcare provider

Patient-and family-centered care (PFCC) refers to a model of healthcare that goes beyond treating a patient for a singular illness or injury. The patient is viewed in the context of their broader life experiences, which includes family.

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What is family as a client in healthcare?

What is family as a client in healthcare?

Patient-and family-centered care (PFCC) refers to a model of healthcare that goes beyond treating a patient for a singular illness or injury. The patient is viewed in the context of their broader life experiences, which includes family. This means that when a patient is being treated, the healthcare physician collaborates with family members, to an extent, to ensure they will receive the best possible treatment outcome. Healthcare models based on PFCC used to mainly be implemented in pediatrics, but are becoming significantly more widespread. The growing importance of family involvement has led to the development and implementation of certain tools in healthcare practices that cater to new priorities. One of the most effective of these tools is a patient portal, where transparency and communication are elevated and the families of clients can be involved in the treatment process. At the end of the day, recognizing and prioritizing patient needs leads to the greatest likelihood of a positive health outcome, which should always be the target objective of a healthcare practice. Research suggests that PFCC is correlated with faster recovery and increased satisfaction ratings of patients, families, and staff. 

What are the responsibilities of healthcare providers to the family members?

Learning how to communicate effectively with family members when you are treating a patient can be difficult, but with the right amount of effort and attention, you will be able to foster a meaningful relationship. As a healthcare provider, you have certain responsibilities to family members:

  • Communication: It is important for family members to be aware of the treatment process that the patient is going through. This will allow them to have a more active role in caring for the patient and ensuring they understand what the patient’s needs are.
  • Discharge: This is an area where communication between the healthcare providers and family members is most important. If a patient is being discharged and needs an at-home caregiver, then their family members must understand what is expected of them. Be sure to inform the family of any medication side effects, dietary restrictions, and recommended exercises. 
  • Patience: When involving family members, it is important to remember that they are not healthcare professionals. There will be conversations that are frustrating, and some questions will be difficult to answer, but it is your responsibility to remain calm and professional. Remember that patients and family members can be just as afraid, so patience and support will go a long way. 

Most of the responsibilities of healthcare providers to family members are centered around effective communication. Honesty and transparency are key to being a good communicator, and these factors can be assisted by the implementation of healthcare software for private practices.

What are the responsibilities of healthcare providers to the family members?
Managing family clients through family patient portals

Managing family clients through family patient portals

Implementing patient portal software for families into your healthcare business can help elevate transparency and good communication. Patient portals provide a secure platform for patients and family members to stay up-to-date on the current treatment of the patient. Although the specific features included in patient portals will depend on the system you select and the services that your practice offers, there are a few widely incorporated tools. 

Medical records that are updated in real-time can be accessed instantly through the patient portal. These records include information regarding the medical history of the patient, as well as any laboratory results, x-rays, medications, allergies, aftercare information, and treatment plans. Family members can log onto the portal and view the information that will allow them to care for and support the patient to the best of their ability. If the patient requests so, physicians can also upload any clinical documentation or progress notes onto the portal. This way, patients and family members can have a more in-depth look at the treatment plan of the patient and how their symptoms and/or condition is progressing. A good patient portal system will allow medical records to be updated in real-time, allowing patients and families to be instantly informed of any results or changes in condition.  

Patient portals also contain a direct messaging channel between the patient and/or family members and the healthcare provider. This eliminates the need to go via a third-party administrative staff member, or play phone tag, and facilitates a faster and more effective means of communication. Video conferencing software also allows patients to virtually connect with their physicians if they require a more in-depth conversation but don’t have access or time to go into a clinic. Similarly, if family members have questions or concerns to raise with the physician, the patient portal provides them with a direct platform to facilitate these conversations.

With a patient portal, family members are able to complete various tasks that would otherwise require them to phone or go into the clinic. Appointment scheduling systems are integrated into the portal, and patients and family members can simply select an appointment time and date that suits their needs. Invoice information and online payment options allow patients to pay for their appointments from the comfort of their own home, giving them greater control over their finances and guaranteeing payment transparency.

Managing family clients through family patient portals

Using a patient portal is guaranteed to benefit family clients. Some of the many advantages that arise out of using a family care patient portal include:

  • Patient care: Portals facilitate a greater focus on patient care. Medical records can be transmitted electronically and are updated in real-time, ensuring that healthcare providers have all of the information required to treat a patient appropriately. Instead of wasting time chasing down records and files, physicians can focus their energy on providing a patient with high-quality healthcare.
  • Clinical outcomes: Patient portals allow physicians to complete certain services without needing to have an in-person appointment, including refilling prescriptions and generating referrals. Requesting these online services allows patients to have greater control over their day-to-day life and will save them both money and time.
  • Appointments: It can be difficult finding a suitable time during a healthcare practice’s opening hours to phone up and book an appointment. With a patient portal, bookings can be made at any time of the day. This feature caters to the busy lives that patients lead, and gives them greater flexibility in organizing their schedules.
  • Improved relationships: Working on bridging the gap between physicians and patients/family members has been a significant priority for many healthcare practices in recent years. Given that patient portals facilitate direct messaging and other communication devices, they are extremely effective at strengthening patient-provider relationships. 


Basing the delivery of health services on a PFCC model has become increasingly common in all fields of healthcare. Although the specific methods used to establish a good relationship with the family members of patients will depend on personal preferences, it is clear that communication is vital. As such, we greatly recommend implementing a patient portal into your practice. By doing so, you are providing your physicians and your patients with the best chance at developing a strong and meaningful relationship. Carepatron’s HIPAA-compliant software is highly effective at facilitating good communication, whilst simultaneously streamlining various administrative tasks. The time that your staff saves by not having to be directly involved in booking or payment processes can instead be spent delivering high-quality healthcare services to patients in need. 

Further Reading:

Patient portals: What makes it so great for family clients?

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