How the Healthcare Industry Has Reduced Aggravation For Patients

February 8, 2016
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The delivery of health care has changed significantly in recent years. Technological advances have made better treatment possible, while changes on the regulatory landscape and in the best practices for providing service have also had a significant impact. As a result, patients’ lives are improving dramatically.

A Better Patient Experience

The delivery of health care has changed significantly in recent years. Technological advances have made better treatment possible, while changes on the regulatory landscape and in the best practices for providing service have also had a significant impact. As a result, patients’ lives are improving dramatically.

A Better Patient Experience

One of the more notable trends has been an increased focus on improving patient experience (PE). In layman’s terms, patients are treated more like customers and less like subordinates.  

This is a profound development that cannot simply be dismissed as the latest health care industry fad. In fact, one organization believes the growing emphasis on patient experience is part of a global movement.

According to the Beryl Institute, a Bedford, Texas-based organization dedicated to tracking PE trends, the past five years have seen an increase in commitment to improving PE not just in the U.S., but worldwide. Providers are taking a comprehensive approach to treating patients that goes beyond merely tracking results. Those who choose not to join this movement do so at their peril. 

Improving PE goes beyond simply improving care, it also includes better quality, safety, service, and reduced costs. Patients now have more say in the treatment process, compared to the traditional top-down approach where they took advice and followed it more or less without question. 

Patients are More Like Customers

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Since health care providers are taking a more customer-oriented approach than before, they will use many of the same tactics that regular businesses often use. A good example of this is in the area of patient reactivation. 

Software solutions like Solutionreach’s patient reactivation allow providers to stay in touch with patients while still being able to meet the rigorous demands of their jobs. Appointment reminders, health-related newsletters, and customized messages are easy to setup without having the expertise of a technician. 

This approach to dealing with patients is not really any different than how an auto service shop, financial advisor, or personal trainer would deal with their customers. One of the first lessons in marketing is that it costs more to get new customers than to keep existing ones. 

Health care providers now see the importance of customer retention in a leaner and meaner economy, and now use the same tools any business would use to be successful at it. 

Medical Advances Enable Better Treatment

Some major advances in medical treatment have emerged in recent years, giving patients more hope when it comes to dealing with certain ailments. 

The recent development of targeted cancer treatments provides patients better alternatives to treating some forms of cancer than traditional methods do. A targeted approach either inhibits cancer cell growth or flat out kills them. Healthy cells are pretty much left intact in the process. 

Chemotherapy and radiation treatment kill healthy cells as well as cancerous ones, and can compromise the patient’s immune system. 

The development of laparoscopic surgery means reduced recovery times for patients undergoing certain procedures, like appendectomies or hernia repairs, which once required relatively large incisions. Laparoscopies use smaller incisions, resulting in less pain and faster recovery times. They also reduce the exposure of adjacent organs to infection that larger incisions make more probable. 

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The health care industry has made changes in many ways, and overall it has led to better patient care. The fact that a major institution like the Cleveland Clinic has an entire department dedicated to patient experience shows that hospitals and other care facilities now take this issue seriously. Patients are being treated more like customers, leading to better service. Medical treatment has also improved in several areas.

There is no substitute for being in a healthy state that requires little to no medical treatment, but for those times when treatment is necessary, it’s good to know that the industry is finally paying attention. Receiving treatment no longer has to be a harrowing ordeal.