Across the nation, healthcare consumers have become more conscientious regarding their provider options. Increasingly, they are demanding greater decision-making power and emotional engagement in their own health diagnoses and treatment options. Healthcare providers are answering to this desire by doing everything possible to build and maintain patient loyalty through patient satisfaction systems. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, or HCAHPS for short, is a 32-item survey introduced in 2008 which offers a standardized, publicly reported measure of hospital patient satisfaction. It was created to provide a valid comparison of nationwide hospitals. Every interaction between a patient and each member of the hospital staff is judged based on expectations set by the best in the healthcare industry. By delivering interactive patient engagement applications that more actively involve patients in their own healthcare experience, hospitals can improve their HCAHPS Ratings. These scores indicate the level of patient satisfaction in the following ways:
- Perception of care
- Observation of hospital staff performance
- Ability to hold hospitals accountable for quality care
- Likelihood of recommending the facility to others
By involving patients more in their own healthcare responsibilities, there will be a decrease in patient recovery times and readmission rates and a strengthening of patient loyalty. Here are five ways patient engagement systems can help your facility achieve its ratings goal by improving communication between providers and patients, aiding in informing and educating patients, offering real-time feedback and responses, promoting patient responsibility, and engaging hospital staff.
1- Improves Communication Between Providers and Patients
Patient engagement systems help to improve communication between providers and patients by automatically delivering personalized messages and care information. Pertinent information such as the names of everyone on the care team, daily schedules, and hospital information can be easily viewed electronically on a tv or tablet. Video conferencing between doctors and patients are also feasible making it easy for questions to be asked and answered. Also, test results will be better explained and prescription information will be better understood. The following are other ways patients can communicate more efficiently with staff through hospital tv systems, tablets, or with texts to mobile devices:
- Review processes and procedures
- Make special requests
- Specify pain levels
- Order meals
- Be reminded of follow-up appointments and medication information
It is crucial to ensure every care provider, from check-in administrators to the attending nurse to the surgeon, are all well informed and on the same page regarding every step of the patient’s care. Every responsibility has a purpose and the completion of each task (or notes regarding them) needs to be effectively and efficiently communicated with every other member of the patient’s care team. By ensuring proper communication from all providers along the continuum of care through a patient engagement system, the engagement between provider and patient will increase and their relationship will be strengthened.
2- Aids in Informing and Educating Patients
Patients desire to be kept informed every step of the way, frequently and speedily. Engaging patients with information and education during admission and upon discharge ensures they are not left waiting with unanswered questions regarding policies, procedures, and follow-up instructions. Patient engagement systems ensure your patients are more informed and educated before, during, and after their hospital stay by making it easy for them to view hospital instructions and personalized educational videos on their tv or tablet.
3- Offers Real-Time Feedback and Response
We live in a fast-paced world, and our patience has decreased and our expectations of speed have changed. By offering real-time patient feedback and responses, patient engagement systems quickly notify appropriate staff of every patient request and need. Information related to the patient’s experience is displayed on dashboards, allowing staff to focus on each patient’s true needs. Then, hospital staff can quickly initiate service recovery at the appropriate time rather than when it’s too late to make a difference in the patient’s experience. This gives hospitals more control over the improvement of patient satisfaction. By addressing each patient’s (and their family’s) specific needs, nurses and staff are able to be proactive in responding quickly and demonstrating empathy in a sincere and timely way.
4- Promotes Patient Responsibility and Sonifi Health
Patients who assume greater responsibility in their care are more likely to achieve better health outcomes and are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. Patient engagement systems incorporate assessments to predict how active patients will be in maintaining their own care. Then, hospitals can personalize patient education and care experiences based on assessment results. When patients are given strong communication and education opportunities, activation in their own care and the speed of recovery increases. In turn, higher patient satisfaction is achieved.
5- Engages Hospital Staff
Even though engagement systems aid patients, with user-friendly tools, hospital staff are also able to be better engaged at the same time. Dashboards can be customized for administrative staff, nurses, hospital service employees, and service and support teams as well. By viewing pertinent information at a glance, every person on the care team can be more effective in their job and more engaged with each patient. By doing so, the quality of care will improve and patients will recover quicker and with a higher satisfaction of their time in the hospital. Use caution, however, not to place too much emphasis on better patient engagement just for the sake of raising your institution’s Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores. If that is your first priority, your ultimate goal of having a patient-centered culture may never be achieved. Rather, work backward from your goal and determine how to reach it. Higher scores will then fall into place naturally. Patients and their loved ones want to be loyal to their healthcare brand. They want to have trust in their providers and be part of the decision-making team. From the very first to the very last moment of interaction, when patients are engaged throughout the entire process, they will be more satisfied overall with the care they’ve been given. Your facility will be creating successful medical outcomes and experiences for every patient who walks through the doors.