Patient consulting a doctor

Patient experience in healthcare is a sum of all their interactions — right from booking appointments to diagnosis and treatment. To improve this, healthcare professionals should focus more on creating patient-centered care.

Focusing too much on financial metrics can make a healthcare institution lose sight of its purpose and mission, which should be to provide patients the best experience possible. Like with any profit-making business, a dissatisfied patient will not come back, and this will impact the finances performance of the organization.

Fortunately, healthcare institutions can improve the patient experience by taking some lessons from high-performing profit-making businesses.

1. Commit to timeliness and reduce waiting times

Unnecessarily queues and long wait times for lab results to be distributed are all annoying practices in hospital environments. Hospital attendants should inform their patients of the expected waiting period for the appointments.

Managed IT services for the healthcare sector utilize technology to speed up scheduling. In most hospitals, patients spend quite a bit of time scheduling appointments and filling-in questionnaires directly at the hospital.

Introducing a web-based application, for example can help patients find out what they need to bring in to their appointment. Also, the application can help patients navigate the hospital, reducing the time spent looking for the pharmacy is or the lab and so on.

2. Ease nurse-patient interactions

Nurses are on the frontline of patient interaction. Thus, improving their competencies will impact positively patient experience. In many hospitals, registered nurses are indistinguishable from staff such as cleaners and food servers.

Patients end up confused on who to turn to for medical help, and this hampers on their experience. Getting distinguishable uniforms for the nurses will ensure patients know staff relevant to their needs.

It’s also important that hospitals make the nurses’ work easier since this will directly translate to quality patient experience. Restocking needed supplies regularly in patients’ rooms will eliminate the frustrations that patients experience as they wait for the nurses to track down supplies.

3. Use feedback to determine impact

Patient talking to a nurseHospitals should have a patient-experience program in place, and then constantly measure the success of the strategy. This can be done by using patient-satisfaction surveys where at the end of the interaction, a patient is asked to fill out a survey.

While it might not be possible to quantify every step of the patient’s journey, general qualitative input can help hospital environments know what to improve.

4. Automate your processes

Hospitals can also introduce an automating system where patients are able to rate their experience. A high rating should be an indicator of great service. The hospital can email patients who give high ratings asking them to leave a review on their website.

For the low ratings, hospitals should follow up to find out what the patient didn’t like about their experience. Remember, successful institutions always use feedback to improve.

Strengthening the relationship between patients and healthcare providers is likely to lead to better patient compliance, earlier detection of diseases, reduction of cost and improved clinical outcomes. As such, hospitals should strive to look into their processes and identify what they need to modify for improved patients’ experience.

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