Healthcare workers and clinicians often treat hundreds of patients a month, so it’s common for patients’ personal experiences to get lost in the shuffle. While it’s not always possible to provide full-time service to patients, there are ways to better their experience and enhance their differing and sometimes anxious healthcare journeys.
This will not only boost morale among healthcare patients and staff but also ensure that medical centers are committing to proving quality care and service. Furthermore, this experience is important to medical practices because it can help attract and retain frequent patients and build trusting doctor-patient relationships that are essential to receiving the right treatment.
Here’s how to improve the patient experience of your target clientele.
- Reduce Paperwork Fatigue
It’s no secret that bureaucracy and paperwork are tedious tasks that patients have to complete for both the health facility and healthcare providers. While this can’t be avoided entirely, it can be simplified and streamlined to improve patient experience enormously before they even step into medical practice.
Having an online presence is the first step to reducing paperwork fatigue because it allows all the information filling, data capturing, monitoring, and communication to occur in one space. This then lessens the frequency of patients having to manually write out their personal details frequently. This can also be done through convenience by using tools such as relatient.com that offer online scheduling, as well as set reminders, and process payments.
Reducing paperwork fatigue also assists healthcare workers to save time by reading through digital registration forms or intake forms and preparing before the initial appointment.
- Carry Out Patient Surveys
After every consultation, hospital stay, or appointment, give patients the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience. This can be done using anonymous survey tools, either online or by filling out a document in person. The survey itself should consist of a pre-written section asking questions with a rating system of a 1-5 or 1-10 scale.
Additionally, a survey should ideally include a blank section for writing that asks about their overall satisfaction or how their care could be improved. Any complaints that come up from the surveys should be addressed timeously. Doing this can help a medical center identify areas where service doesn’t meet patient expectations and what needs to be improved. It also assures patients that their care and opinions matter to the practice which can help foster patient loyalty and trust.
- Conduct Healthcare Staff Surveys
In the same ways surveys from patients can be useful, the same could be applied to healthcare staff, especially nurses. This is because they spend the most time with patients and have closer personal contact with each patient.
The role healthcare staff play in treatment can help identify issues in providing services and gaps in care that need improving. These can be any obstacles that prevent or reduce a nurse’s ability to properly care for a patient for instance.
The highlighted issues can then be used as recommendations for the medical center to implement for that specific practice. Additionally, higher work satisfaction and lower turnout are also essential for healthcare staff to stay devoted and compliant with dispensing quality care.
- Implement Patient Rounding
When implemented effectively, this personalized patient-centric approach to care can go a long way to improving patient experience and health outcomes. It allows both care workers as well as patients to get more involved in treatments that prevent illness or problems from occurring.
It’s said that prioritizing patients’ safety, needs, benefits, and comfort help lower readmission rates. Patients can then be more informed about their healthcare and understand procedures going forward.
An effective patient rounding program should include nurses making hourly rounds to patients’ rooms for a checkup in order to address any concerns or answer patient questions and record data on a patient’s condition.
It’s essential that patient rounding includes documentation so that their issues can be tracked and followed up on and reduce repetitive processes or a patient having to re-explain their concerns. In the end, patients feel cared for and their health anxiety is eased because they’re treated as individuals and ‘not just a number’.
- Allow For Efficient Patient-Healthcare Worker Communication
As previously stated, all patients want to feel like they’re receiving personalized treatment and not just a number in the system. One of the ways to ensure a medical center is more involved is by implementing a program that enhances patient and healthcare worker communication. This should be an engagement that fosters human connection so that doctors and patients are always in the know about each step of treatment.
This can involve both online and in-person tools that allow physicians and nurses to keep in touch with family members of patients, sending emails, automated reminders for taking medicine, or personalized text messages.
Moreover, a practice can make use of telehealth conferencing for better engagement. These online sessions can be informal follow-ups or check-ins after major surgeries or for patients undergoing palliative treatment and care for instance.
- Improve Practice Etiquette
While this may seem like an obvious solution, it can often go overlooked because it’s expected by health staff but not always implemented. Improving patient experience should begin with how they’re treated as they arrive. Front office staff should ideally be trained to be welcoming, helpful, and friendly. This should be in conjunction with a waiting room that’s clean, with comfortable furniture, and is accommodating to all patients – with or without a disability.
In terms of clinicians and health care workers, they can make patients feel comfortable to share their health issues with a friendly approach and good bedside manners. This could be being good listeners, maintaining eye contact when patients speak, answering questions and providing treatment information with clarity, and performing examinations with sensitivity. Displaying a caring presence will ensure patients feel their doctors are committed to their welfare and social well-being.
Improving patient experience encompasses adopting a patient-centric model of proving care that’s individualized, personal, and makes patients feel taken care of. This can be done through multiple measures such as collecting feedback on satisfaction rates, as well as checking up on patients and giving them the opportunity to ask questions. It also includes staying in contact, formalizing procedures into digital and practicing proper medical etiquette and sensitivity. Implementing all of these can ensure medical centers meet patient expectations and satisfaction rates.