The entire 2020 and the beginning of this year have been extremely stressful, both for healthcare workers, medical institutions, and for the people who had to be hospitalized. The turmoil and the stress of caring for a surging number of patients have pushed the patient experience to the back of the healthcare workers’ minds (quite justifiably so, when most are fighting to save lives), which has unfortunately contributed to even greater tension, distrust, and conflicts.
In a sense, patient experience is what makes a person trust your medical staff, your choice of equipment, your suggested therapy and treatment, and what gets them to recommend you to their friends and family. Patient experience also affects your reputation as an institution, and the individual reputations of the people who work under your wing. So, by investing in improving patient experience, you’re actively investing in doctor-patient relationships, you’re building trust, and setting the stage for future success in your community. Here’s what you can do today to improve this aspect of your healthcare institution.
Dedicated medical apps
Healthcare applications are on the rise, since we have become so reliant on technology, it’s only natural to see this trend expanding into healthcare. Patients can gain access to their records, track if their results are in with notifications, and learn about their chosen doctor’s availability for their next checkup.
Doctors, on the other hand, can have their calendars automated and managed through the application instead of manually keeping track of their appointments.
Now more than ever, hospitals are looking to be more paperless and less dependent on physical records when they keep track of their patients’ health. When their patients move, change cities, or even continents, it becomes impossible to maintain the continuity of their records, including immunization, medical procedures, treatments, and past test results.
To help patients as well as doctors, digital record-keeping is becoming more prevalent across the globe. It helps doctors keep track of their patients even when they move, and they can provide remote medical advice via the phone or email when they have all the data at hand. In case of an emergency, especially when a patient is unconscious, having access to digital records can save their life: doctors can immediately find out if that patient suffers from allergies, which blood type they are, and if they have a chronic illness.
Engaging digital boards
Overall digitalization in the medical field isn’t just for doctor-facing solutions, software, and tools, but it actually helps deliver a smarter, more seamless experience for the patient. How? By introducing digital signage for hospitals, you help patients check in, navigate the hospital, find the doctor or the service they need, and engage with the facility more easily.
Digital boards, kiosks, and interactive screens are great for patients of all ages, so they can be used to keep kids busy while they’re in the waiting room. They can also be educational and department-specific, or announce important news for the patients. Digital outlets of this kind help the hospital provide a more cutting-edge experience and simplify communication or their staff with the patients.
AI-driven smarter diagnostics
The pressure on physicians, nurses, EMTs and all other frontline workers is increasing every day during the pandemic. The fact that they are stretched so thin means that they can barely devote enough time to every patient, and many of them don’t have the capacity to thoroughly research and analyze each patient’s records to diagnose them and provide adequate treatment.
To help your staff give better care and provide a better patient experience during the pandemic, you need to reduce their workload. With the help of AI-based diagnostic solutions, medical workers can have that much-needed unbiased support in making decisions for their patients. This helps alleviate some of that pressure, improves the quality of service, reduces human error, and ultimately improves the patient experience.
Creating a feedback loop
The healthcare industry is a business, just like any other, except that your responsibility towards your patients and their wellbeing is far greater. Naturally, the promise of providing exemplary care for your patients is above all else, but you do know that sometimes, human error in the form of misdiagnoses, long waiting times, and frustrated medical staff lead to subpar patient experiences. The truth is, the perspective of those patients might not always be entirely unbiased and realistic, but it is definitely informative for your institution.
That is why you can use your branded app, your social media pages, and your patient assistance lines to gather feedback from your patients. Surveys also help, since they give you a chance to explore specific areas of your healthcare and the overall patient experience. Acting on that feedback is paramount to your success and for the building of patient trust in the future.
Your patients are there because they have to be, but they certainly don’t have to look forward to leaving because of the way you treat them or the way they feel in your facility. The entire experience of medical care you provide should be patient-centric and driven by data to understand what those common sore points can be for your patients. In improving their experience when they interact with your medical staff and when they need to visit your facility, you’ll invest in a long-lasting legacy of unsurpassed patient care and an effort to improve the wellbeing of your community.