Across the nation, various hospital systems and care facilities are looking to find ways to improve patient experiences without increasing costs or diminishing quality of care.
An important aspect of the patient experience revolves around what the patient does not see–the coordination of multiple departments and ensuring that communication is seamless and efficient. The hard part is actually achieving these goals and truly improving the process of admitting, treating, and discharging a patient.
The following are important things to keep in mind:
- Effective communication between various care groups to make sure patients’ needs are taken care of in a timely manner
- Staying up to date with technology, but not allowing it to diminish the personal interaction with patients.
- Proper monitoring and follow up.
- Patient engagement with their care and satisfaction at the forefront.
- Continually analyzing and improving the process with data and real-time reporting.
What does it mean to effectively communicate? It means speaking with the right people about the right issues at the right time. If a patient has an issue or an unmet need, it is of paramount importance to resolve the issue and fix any underlying problems. This can involve multiple parties who are also doing the same thing for other patients. There are many tools that can improve communication, but unless they are easy to use, they will never be fully utilized. Programs that can automatically send alerts to help resolve issues not only streamlines the process of fixing problems, but also decreases the time it takes to track down the proper staff member.
Leveraging Technology to Foster Personal Interaction
It may seem counter-intuitive; however, there are a lot of tools based in technology that help to increase instead of diminish personal interactions. The first way that technology can do this is by giving care providers more time to actually be with patients. Automatic escalations, data analytics, and medical applications are all technological solutions that help streamline communication, improve workflow, and allow for better quality of care. For example, using a nurse rounding solutions can help foster best practices in opening lines of communication between nurses and patients. Having scripts that build upon trust and reliability can make patients feel that they are being taken care of, while nurses can look at the patient when asking questions instead of at a paper where they are writing down answers.
Proper Monitoring and Follow-Up
This is another area in which technology can truly help to maximize post-discharge care and help to round out the patient experience. When patients leave the hospital they are not always able to follow discharge instructions or understand if they are getting better. By monitoring patients post-discharge a hospital can identify patients who need a little extra help in ensuring they are on the path to wellness.
Engaging patients is now becoming one of the best ways to make sure they are invested in their care and do everything they can to get better. Improving patient education and giving them the tools necessary to better care for themselves is a great way to improve outcomes. This can be as simple as giving them to opportunity to listen to their discharge instructions once they have returned home, or as innovative as giving them control over their post-discharge activity through step-tracking or weight monitoring.
Analyzing Data and Real-Time Reporting
Understanding what is happening when it is happening is the best way for a hospital to discover, fix, and prevent a variety of issues. When hospitals can understand why patients may be readmitted to the hospital, or which patients are having trouble sleeping, the hospital is better able to increase quality of care as well as patient satisfaction. Investing in technology that helps to analyze data and provide real-time reports is an integral part of hospital improvement.
Overall, by keeping these ideas at the absolute top of mind, care providers can drastically improve the overall patient experience. By actively listening and responding appropriately to any issues patients may have both inside and outside the hospital can drastically impact patient care for the better.
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