Patient satisfaction’s impact on reimbursements has many inpatient hospitals focusing on HCAHPS There are many approaches to improving HCAHPS. Improving communications, patient education, collecting better data, and making services and resources within the hospital easier to find and navigate are some of the most cited areas for improvement. One of the simplest enhancements to the care experience that can translate into virtually every area of improvement is mobilization.
- Enhancing Communication: Communication with patients should utilize multiple channels. Since mobile is the way the majority of patients communicates with their caregivers and loved ones, it is a logical and convenient extension of the care experience. Communications should not end with the patient, however. Often times it is the caregivers and loved ones who carry the burden of enforcing the care plan that may lack sufficient knowledge of the condition or medication. After proper opt-in procedures have been set, the caregivers can received automated content via text (SMS), email, and web to assist in the care of their loved ones. HIPAA-compliant, secure texting with providers is also an option for safely sharing PHI sensitive information.
- Patient Education: There is no shortage of qualified mobile-friendly medical content that is specific to medication or disease state patient education. After the content passes muster with the Chief Medical Officer and then is simplified, it can be distributed conveniently via mobile and web to set reminders for follow-ups and for care plan enforcement. This same approach can be effective for readmissions reductions by providing patients with educational information that enables them to understand their symptoms and better manage their conditions.
- Collecting Better Data: HCAHPS survey responses are usually low. Hospitals tend to hear from those that are either least satisfied or most satisfied. Mobile offers a way to capture unique data from patients and loved ones while they are in the facility. There are several ways to incent involvement. These data can be captured and acted upon while the patient is receiving care to help improve to care experience.
- Finding and Navigating Hospital Services: Hospitals have increased their focus on the care experience and have added services and amenities to enhance this experience. From upgrades in their cafeteria to enhanced staffing in social services, many patients and loved ones are not aware of all the services that are available to them. Mobile is an efficient way for everyone to learn more about what is available to them and where and when to go. Simple literature or posters placed in rooms can prompt a text chat with a cafeteria or social worker (on or off premises) or lead to a mobile web page that offers quick and easy information gathering without tracking down an already busy staff member.
Ubiquitous use of the mobile phone has transformed the retail, travel, and finance industries, enhancing the consumer experience and brand loyalty. Hospitals seeking to improve on HCAHPS and other quality enhancements could learn from these more traditional consumer industries and adapt a broader use of mobile tools.
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