How Physician Offices Can Improve Patient Health Care

March 31, 2016
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Doctors and their staff want what is best for patients. Yet in physician offices across the country, it’s becoming an increasingly challenging feat to provide the best level of care for patients despite best intentions. Many are swamped with appointments, understaffed, and stretched thin on resources. Simply keeping up with the acute problems of patients is difficult enough, let alone addressing the chronic health issues that plague people on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Doctors and their staff want what is best for patients. Yet in physician offices across the country, it’s becoming an increasingly challenging feat to provide the best level of care for patients despite best intentions. Many are swamped with appointments, understaffed, and stretched thin on resources. Simply keeping up with the acute problems of patients is difficult enough, let alone addressing the chronic health issues that plague people on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Reactive methods for improving patient health care rest on the breakthroughs in medical science and the keen detective skills of doctors. There are, however, a number of proactive measures which, when applied to the office, can make a deep impact on patient health for the better.

Safety Precautions

Physician offices can be vectors of infectious disease, especially during flu season. Though doctors and their staff are undoubtedly aware of the dangers of working with sick individuals, it’s equally important to prevent infectious disease from spreading between patients in the waiting room. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends doctors keep flu sufferers separated from uninfected patients, such as placing them in an exam room right away.

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Streamlined Communication

The visit itself is only a small part of a patient’s road to recovery. The overwhelming majority of time spent battling a health issue happens outside the office. Therefore, it’s critical for physicians to keep communication lines open with active patients. Leading health care consulting services recommend opting for state-of-the-art call center solutions and other means to sort out the emergencies from the routine. This way when patients have an important question to ask outside the office, they aren’t met with a barrier; also, staff aren’t swamped with calls.

Positive Environment

Wall color, space, smells, and temperature can all have an influence on patient health. Health care professionals can’t do much to control these factors outside the office but can take steps to positively influence patients by sprucing up the waiting and examination rooms. Calming paint color, neutral air fresheners, and temperate climate control can go a long way to making the visit more pleasurable on a psychological level. This in turn is likely to help patients to feel more positive going forward with treatment.

Friendly Staff

In addition to creating a positive environment for patients, it’s important for staff to maintain a positive attitude at all times. This doesn’t mean putting on a phony grin and taking verbal abuse from patients, but rather being resistant to surliness in the face of stress. Keeping composure during hectic periods sets a good example for men and women who may be facing a long road to recovery. Seeing medical staff remain positive under pressure is an inspiring experience for patients. This leads to a more positive outlook, improving health outcomes.

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Receive Feedback

Give patients the opportunity to rate their experience. Better yet, doctors and nurses can take a minute to ask outright whether the office could use some improvement. Lots of patients will have lots of things to say, but if a particular issue is repeatedly mentioned, it’s a clear sign to reevaluate office policy or layout.

Doctors and nurses are tasked with an increasingly long list of duties in the successful treatment of patients. Despite every intent to do what’s best, it’s not always easy, and elements which can vastly improve patient health are allowed to fall by the wayside. Bringing these factors back to the forefront of physician office priorities can lead to positive results in patient health and wellbeing almost immediately.