How Hospitals Can Improve Patient Experience Through Enhanced Healthcare Services

How Hospitals Can Improve Patient Experience Through Enhanced Healthcare Services

Hospitals focusing on patient experience are rewarded more through reimbursement opportunities and regulations. A patient-reported experience score has become a key performance indicator for hospitals.

Patient satisfaction directly impacts adherence to treatment plans, medical outcomes, and healthcare costs. Several vital strategies help improve the patient experience, including effective communication, empathy, care coordination, and the physical environment.

Patient Education

Patients who are well-informed about their healthcare experience have better outcomes. They are more likely to comply with doctor instructions, follow treatment plans, and maintain healthy habits after discharge.

Online medical information resources and patient portals allow convenient access to personal medical records and exam results. However, sifting through the information and determining credible sources can be challenging.

Providers should assess patients to understand what information they want and need to know. Consider their learning style and use different methods of education to maximize comprehension. For example, visual learners respond well to charts and infographics, while auditory patients prefer one-on-one meetings. Kinesthetic learners also benefit from hands-on demonstrations of how to perform specific procedures.

Patient Engagement

Patient engagement is an essential component of providing patient-centered care. However, “patient engagement” has been used indiscriminately to describe various programs and strategies to improve outcomes, drive appointment scheduling and care access, or meet regulatory compliance requirements.

Patients’ active partnership with their clinical professionals makes an actual patient engagement strategy different. This includes patients believing they are responsible for their health, having confidence and knowledge about managing their health and taking actions to maintain or improve their health.

Patient Safety

A common fear among patients is the potential for medical errors. Every year, millions suffer and even die from unavoidable mistakes in the healthcare industry.

Patient safety is an essential component of any hospital’s mission. Enhanced and quality healthcare services, as advocated by Rock Bordelon, President Allegiance Health Management, that prioritize patient safety can help reduce the risk of harm, improve satisfaction, and ultimately boost profitability.

Some strategies hospitals use to improve patient safety include enhancing procedures for staff members’ emotional and physical well-being, such as providing access to PPE or requiring periodic mental health breaks. Additionally, revising visitation rules to prevent the spread of disease is also beneficial.

Patient Advocacy

Everyone receiving medical treatment needs a wingman who helps raise questions, enhance communication with medical staff, and ensure patients receive patient-centered care. This person is called a patient advocate.

Nurse advocates connect patients with resources both inside and outside healthcare facilities. They understand patients’ unique concerns, fears, and needs. They translate medical jargon into language that patients can understand.

Patients who are heard and understood feel more empowered to follow their treatment plans, resulting in improved clinical outcomes and reducing overall healthcare costs from avoidable complications or readmissions. This results in greater patient satisfaction, retention, and word-of-mouth referrals for the hospital.

Patient Counseling

Patient counseling is an integral part of healthcare that helps patients understand their healthcare journey and treatment. It also guides how to manage their health conditions and reduces complications. For instance, patients aware of medication side effects are less likely to experience adverse drug reactions, costing the healthcare system billions annually.

Many hospitals are creating and staffing Offices of Patient Experience (OPX) to promote effective communication, empathy, and care coordination. Moreover, they encourage staff to embrace the patient’s perspective by offering training on communication skills.

Medication Reconciliation

Medication reconciliation is an integral part of a hospital’s patient safety efforts and is particularly useful at the handoff points of transition between different levels of care. However, studies on medication reconciliation often lack evidence regarding its impact on preventing errors.

Medication reconciliation can be time-consuming for both nurses and physicians. Respondents to a study stated that obtaining the medication history and reviewing home medications before discharge can take up to 20 minutes per patient. By integrating external pre-admission medication lists into the EHR, hospitals can reduce this burden by having clinicians compare home and inpatient medication orders on a single screen.

Patient Transportation

Patient transport is a service that conveys patients into, out of, and between healthcare facilities. It is usually provided by non-emergency vehicles and is staffed by individuals with less training than emergency ambulance crews.

Moving patients puts vulnerable people at risk of infection, spreading an existing disease, and even injury during transit. It also takes nurses and medical staff away from their primary duties, causing a trickle-down effect on throughput, nursing and patient satisfaction, and ultimately, hospital profitability. Streamlining the transport process can alleviate these issues.

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