Sometimes, I wonder what is the actual definition of ‘quality care?’ Some would say providing the right care to patients. For some, it would be enabling providers to take the right decisions, while for others, it could be enabling technology to understand the patients.
All these definitions are correct, but what is the actual meaning of quality care? Couldn’t the answer be ‘the combination of all?’
Healthcare, currently, is flooding with buzzwords such as engagement, consumerism, patient-centricity, and whatnot. However, among them, patient experience is something which forms the core value of the space.
The shocking reality of patient experience
Most healthcare organizations focus on delivering real-time care, but it is more important to provide care at the right time. According to a study by Televox and Kelton Research, 83% of American don’t follow the plans given by their doctors precisely as prescribed. As per the same report, 55% of providers reported that they don’t communicate with patients between visits.
Patients want their providers to be compassionate. They want to share a relationship that goes beyond just talking, noting things down, and following up on visits as a mere reminder. Every patient is unique and deserves the care which is unique.
Defining patient experience in three phases
The patient experience can be categorized in the following three stages:
- Pre-treatment patient experience
- Patient experience during the treatment
- Post-treatment patient experience
The task of enhancing the patient experience is a long process and patient engagement is a part among them.
1. Understanding your patients and their needs
In my view, everything in healthcare starts from data. In order to ensure that the doctor understands the actual medical condition of the patient and provide the care he/she deserves, it is important that every relevant data is available to him at the right time.
Providers need to have comprehensive knowledge about their patients, specifically those who are scheduled for a visit on that particular day. Patients should have access to portals in order to track their care procedures in real time and status of their appointments.
2. Making the visit count and more empathetic
One major issue that patients face is the less time that they get to spend being in direct conversation with their physician during the entire appointment. A survey founded that 60% of providers believed that increased patient-physician interaction time could improve the overall patient experience of the care process.
However, to realize this, it is essential that the physician has every information on the patient. It is impossible for a doctor to treat a patient without knowing his allergies, ongoing medication, and other relevant data.
3. Driving patients towards self-care
It is essential for a patient to know that he will be taken care of under any medical condition, but it is more important for him to understand the ways to prevent such situations. A significant portion of care starts once the patient leaves the door of the hospital. From care teams following up on patients to understanding the impact of non-clinical factors on the patient’s health are an important element in this stage.
An efficient feedback system is a very crucial aspect. Patient satisfaction is equivalent to provider satisfaction. It is essential that providers remain updated with the latest developments within the organization.
How to uncover the hidden aspects of holistic patient experience
Ensuring a better patient experience is not the task of just one person but the collective responsibility of every stakeholder. It is a common notion that technology is a major hindrance in the face-to-face conversation between the patient and the provider. However, if this lack of communication is the result of technology, then the technology in itself holds the key to solving this problem.
Healthcare organizations need to focus on aligning their processes by keeping the patients at the center. They can follow a simple 6-step procedure to attain the key to enhancing patient experience from within their network:
- Identify the critical elements in providing better care to the patient
- Stratify the high-utilizers and segregate the processes
- Collaborate with every member in the network
- Review the individual provider and the network performance
- Manage organizational and provider workflows to streamline the care processes
- React to the feedback received from providers and patients
Striking a balance between patient safety and patient empathy- A contextual brief
There is a very minute gap between patient empathy and patient safety. In most cases, they go hand in hand. The relationship between a patient and a physician is based on trust, which gives rise to the physician’s ethical responsibility to place the patient’s welfare above anything else. Most of the times, this relationship is entertained by mutual consent between the two.
However, in certain circumstances, a limited patient-physician relationship may be created, only with the sole aim of enhancing the patient’s overall experience. According to the AMA Code of Medical Ethics include circumstances such as:
- Under an emergency situation where the patient is in dire need specific set of medical treatment and is unable to provide his/her consent on the process
- When a physician examines a patient in the context of an independent medical examination
The road ahead
According to a survey administered by Software Advice, about 20% of patients are willing to pay extra for a better and faster care service. The aspects on which the patient experience is judged goes way beyond the conventional considerations of improving care efficiency. The age of patients seeking care is over. Now, they want to be an active participant in their care journey, and it is imperative that we build the healthcare that boosts their current trend of involvement and deliver the care patients deserve.
To know more about how a healthcare data platform can assist you in delivering the best care to your patients, get a demo.
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