Tag Archives: Patient Education Systems

Aligning Outcomes

A couple months back we took a look at how important patient satisfaction is becoming in healthcare. Payments are transferring to a model that evaluates outcomes and requires that the patient is satisfied with their care in order to receive the full amount billed for the services rendered.64895307_s

One potential problem for providers however, is trying to hit a satisfaction target that varies from patient to patient. Two patients could receive identical treatment for identical issues from the same practitioner and those two people may rate their experiences completely differently.

The challenge is that patients bring their own situational implications with them. Each patient has a different history with a variety of providers, and those experiences shape the expectations of the patient. If there’s one thing that is certain about satisfaction, it is that it’s implicitly tied to expectation. If a visit to the ER, Urgent Care, or even a well check don’t measure up to the bar that the patient has already set in their head prior to their visit, you will inevitably end up with a dissatisfied patient.

Given all this, it may seem impossible to even institute a program that would address the varying levels of patient expectations that healthcare providers will encounter. However, there is in fact a way to start the process.

The best way to assure that you are meeting a patient’s expectations is to be involved in setting them in the first place.

A healthcare provider that sets up a system where there is proactive communication and education with the patient on their condition, the steps being taken to treat the condition, and the range of outcomes that the patient can expect, allows the provider to set expectations for the upcoming stages of their healthcare journey.

“Gone — in many ways thankfully — are the days of the paternalist model of medicine where “doctor knows best” is the tagline. Today, patients are increasingly empowered to take part in their own healthcare journeys through access to online information. But they can only do that effectively when their decisions are guided by advanced educational sources.”

– Dr. Linda Grigis

Given that many online resources provide incorrect information to patients, some estimates say well under 50% of medical websites provide correct treatment recommendations, there is a unique opportunity for providers to invest in and curate their own patient education resources. These resources can be leveraged online before upcoming visits, during examinations or consultations on screens in the examination rooms, and even made available during extended hospitalization through the flat panels in the patient rooms. Education empowers patients to become active participants in their healthcare decisions, and people who make educated choices typically take more shared personal responsibility for the outcome, meaning they may be less likely to place all the blame on the practitioner if the preferred outcome is not immediately achieved.

At the end of the day, patient education systems can go a long way to set proper expectations and empower patients to make better, informed choices about their care, improving patient satisfaction. As an added benefit, these same systems also help educate patients on aftercare instructions and future preventative measures to take to avoid recurrence of the condition or readmission to the hospital, which can also be costly to providers and detrimental to long term patient satisfaction and loyalty.

Treating patients like partners, opening up lines of communication and education, and aligning the provider’s and patient’s preferred outcomes are all necessary to be successful in today’s healthcare environment.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/customer-expectations/

#2: http://blog.avidex.com/the-role-of-technology-in-patient-satisfaction/

#3: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/accuracy-of-medical-information-on-the-internet/

#4: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/12/cme-isnt-today-align-empower-patient-outcomes.html

 

Carey Cox

About Carey Cox

Carey Cox has spent his 17 year career in various roles within the health care industry including sales, consulting, and operations management. Carey has been involved in a number of capital system sales roles including life safety, infant security, audio-visual, and clinical education. He had operational oversight of two Baylor pain management centers and served on various committees for Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. His internal knowledge of health care operations, his leadership experience and his ability to build and strengthen relationships give him a unique insight into clinical workflow and process throughput. Carey holds a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration and also volunteers in a mentoring program for young adults entering into the workforce. During his tenure at TeleHealth Services, he has been instrumental in expanding the TeleHealth footprint in Dallas-Ft Worth (Methodist Health System) and Houston (CHI St. Luke’s Health and Memorial Hermann) health care markets.

The Role of Technology in Patient Satisfaction

There has been a recent shift in healthcare from a fee-for-service environment to a pay-for-performance model.  The shift is a good one in most people’s eyes as it focuses more on the patient and the actual results than it does the provider and their services.20984020 - happy couple looking at digital tablet held by doctor  The performance of a healthcare provider is now evaluated based on patient outcomes (70%) and patient satisfaction (30%) and payments are dependent on performance in both areas.  Due to this, healthcare providers are more focused on patient satisfaction, at least from a metrics standpoint, than ever before.  “In fact, more than half (54%) of healthcare executives say patient experience and satisfaction is one of their top three priorities.”  

So how is patient experience data gathered and reported?  Enter the HCAHPS survey.  What is that you ask?  “The HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care.”  It is a required survey in all hospitals now, and the answers patients give matter to the payments received.

There have been many studies on the impact that nurses and physicians have on patient satisfaction.  Nothing will ever do more for generating comfort than the human touch and a great bedside manner.  However, technology can play an important role in assisting the caregiver and increasing patient satisfaction in 3 important ways.

Reducing Anxiety and Pain

Nothing is more stressful than being in a foreign place where you feel alone and helpless.  Moving from the patient room to multiple locations in the facility for radiology, MRIs, blood panels and the like make the experience even more bewildering and uncomfortable.  Add to that a sterile white wall or ceiling with nothing to look at and an ear ringing silence and you have nothing to focus on BUT the procedure and itself and any pain and discomfort that may go along with it.

Audio visual technology has been shown to decrease patient anxiety in many procedures, with the combination of soothing sounds and visuals together being greater than the sum of their parts.  According to one study in this arena:

“The presentation of audiovisual stimuli during a medical examination, can reduce anxiety and consequently enhance the overall patient experience.  Visual and auditory stimuli decreased pain, stress and anxiety… reduced discomfort and distress…and  significantly increased pain threshold and pain tolerance.”

The other way to decrease patient anxiety through the use of technology may not be as obvious, but is just as valuable.  Patient Education Systems.  Nothing can assist the physician or nurse in explaining a potentially complicated medical procedure better than a short video or computer animation that can be accessed in the patient room on the TV.  Providing visual aides before a procedure to help the patient understand the upcoming treatment can greatly reduce fear of the unknown and give the patient peace of mind.

Providing Access and Control

Given how central the act of communication is to the human experience, there are many questions on the HCAHPS survey that ask about communication between the patient and staff.  Communication can have a profound effect on the impression a patient has of their care, regardless of whether or not their ailment is treated properly.  Patients also find some level of comfort in having some control.  Being hospitalized leaves many feeling helpless and providing some sense of control to patients alleviates this feeling.  In both cases providing the patient with access to both staff and information fulfill these needs.

If a patient has a direct line to the nurse’s station via the call button, creating a video call between the attendant and themselves they can take comfort in the fact that they can express their needs.  In cases where specialists may be shared between facilities, patients can also access staff for detailed questions and concerns remotely and efficiently without the barriers of travel time between locations.  Finally, access to information on treatments and control of entertainment options during down time also help provide access and control when needed.

Increasing Communication

Finally, technology also assists in providing more positive patient impressions at the time of discharge.  Patient Education Systems as described above allow patients to review discharge instructions, at home treatments, and follow up visit schedules at their leisure when they are most receptive to receiving the information.  It has also been shown that information is retained much longer and more accurately when it is presented both visually and audibly.  Training organizations like OSHA have long understood this phenomenon in promoting better understanding and retention of information.  In this case, it means the chances of readmissions also go down, and the digital nature of the information sharing also creates the added bonus of a record of communicating the information to the patient to mitigate any future liability as well.

As you can see, although technology will most likely never be able to replace the human element of patient satisfaction, it can greatly assist the healthcare practitioner in making sure their patients are at ease and are well informed both about the procedures they are about to undergo as well as how to best care for themselves once they are back in the comfort of their own homes.  Never before has bedside manner been tied in such a way to the payment of healthcare services, and a small investment in some assistive technology can make the difference in how a patient remembers the experience as a whole.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: https://apihealthcare.com/sites/default/files/MC_CL_PAS_PPA_0000000001.pdf

#2: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/4-strategies-to-boost-hospitals-hcahps-scores.html

#3: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/811356_2

#4: http://www.hcahpsonline.org/home.aspx

#5: http://www.rufwork.com/110/mats/oshaVisualAids.html

Anthony Paoletti

About Anthony Paoletti

Anthony brings over 23 years of audiovisual experience and has worn nearly every "hat" in the industry; from Consultant to End User; Account Representative to Install Technician; Project Manager to Systems Engineer. Contact Anthony at apaoletti@avidexav.com