This is the final blog post in the series focusing on the journey of patient experience and outcome improvement at Lutheran Medical Center. These posts were written by Barb, VP of Accounts at CipherHealth. Barb brings with her over 30 years of experience in healthcare quality and performance excellence.
Previously, I discussed why engaging patients and their families is an important step to take before they are discharged. I then offered a potential solution to a challenging issue: using technology to improve the patient experience. However, implementing technology is not a thoughtless activity. In fact, without the proper implementation techniques, technology can initially be somewhat of a burden.
According to Shelley Ruyle, Clinical Manager of Post-Anesthesia Care Unit and the Pre-surgical care unit, the nurses at Lutheran Medical Center were apprehensive about the length and content of the Voice recordings. This is not an uncommon hurdle for organizations. When implementing the best practices of patient engagement, it is critical to allow nurses to express concerns, to find ways to alleviate those concerns, and to finally showcase the importance of those changes.
To ensure nurses felt comfortable, Lutheran developed tip sheets that outlined the process for the recording and assured them they were only iterating the physician’s instructions. Once the nurses were comfortable, Lutheran set out to showcase the positive outcomes of the initiative.
Not only were patients engaging with the recordings, but they were positively impacting the patients’ overall impression with the hospital and the discharge process as measured by the HCAHPS survey. Lutheran experienced a 1.8% increase in the patients’ comprehension of discharge instructions and a 3.8% increase in overall satisfaction if patients received a discharge call and listened to the Echo recording.
After reviewing the aforementioned data, nurse teams immediately realized the importance of patient engagement and committed to the process. Shelley explained, “Five months after implementation on my orthopedic unit, we had a 3% increase in discharge information, a 13% increase in medication communication and a 7% increase in the overall rating of care. We have been able to sustain this high level of performance and remain at above the 90th Percentile of satisfaction. Through the Voice outreach and Echo follow-up, we are able to alleviate some of the patient and family concerns at the same time we have engaged them in the discharge process.”
By finding ways to engage patients and family members in the discharge process and during recovery, Lutheran made a lasting impression on patients, actions that were clearly visible in the evaluation of their experience. If you don’t want your patients to experience doubts and fears after their hospitalization and if you want them to have a lasting positive impression of your organization, you want to find ways to strategically engage patients in the discharge process. As Lutheran showcases, having programs such as Voice and Echo give your staff the tools to follow-up on concerns and communicate effectively during the care transition process, thereby ensuring the patients and their family members know you care about them even after they leave the hospital.
To learn how technology can help improve patient engagement at your hospital, contact us today.