Tag Archives: Patient Satisfaction

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.

Misery Loves Company

We’ve all heard the term “Misery loves company.” It is typically used in a way that suggests that people who are unhappy like to be with other people that are unhappy or that people who are miserable wish others ill will. But what if “misery loves company” meant something else 33827079 - patient using digital tablet while reclining on hospital bedcompletely, and that understanding the phrase better could generate better patient outcomes in healthcare?

The answer to the “misery loves company” riddle, may have just been solved. Recent research has shown that a group of brain cells called “mirror neurons” may play a key role. They are activated when we experience emotions ourselves, but also when we watch others go through an emotional state. The vicarious experience actually makes the mirror neurons fire in our brains creating a similar emotional state in us. It is the physiological manifestation of empathy, and it also helps explain why film and plays may be so cathartic and riveting.

From a healthcare perspective, knowing this is a huge benefit, especially from a facility’s visitors policy perspective. Creating ways for patients to have positive interactions with their friends and loved ones can have a direct impact on their health, recovery, and ultimately their happiness.

“So during and after a visit from a loving and cheerful friend or relation, mirror neurons will stir similar positive feelings in the brain of the person in the hospital bed, lifting their spirits and making them feel better.”

In fact, Dr Matthew Ratcliffe of Durham University goes even further to assert that,

By being with someone who has a smiling face — such as a hospital visitor — mirror neurons motivate a similar response in our own brain, leading us to make a similar gesture and even directing us towards a similar emotional reaction.”

So creating ways for patients to interact with family and friends and lowering the barriers to those interactions can have an impact on the patient’s happiness as well as how they perceive their medical condition. Given that a happy patient is a satisfied patient, and currently more and more healthcare payments are being tied to patient satisfaction and positive outcomes, it is to the healthcare provider’s advantage to find ways to lower the barrier to these interactions. Many hospitals have already expanded their visitation hours to better accommodate patients’ family and friends. Chris Clarke, who oversees the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Center for Patient Safety relays that “There is a renewed focus on patient-focused care that means better engaging with patients’ families.”

Visitation policies only go so far as they only apply to family and friends who can physically make it to the physical location. However the absence of a loved one can likewise have a negative effect on the patient’s recovery.

“Meanwhile, friends failing to turn up for a visit could actually be bad for the patient.

Not only are they deprived of the benefits of loving contact but their feelings of rejection activate the very areas of the brain that generate the sting of physical pain.”

-Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence: The New Science Of Human Relationships

This is where technology can play a key role. High definition video conferencing systems, installed in patient rooms, offer another way for patients and their friends and family to connect. Given that the mirror neurons respond to observing the emotions of a patient’s visitor, the video component is actually key in generating a positive emotional state.

Video conferencing provides the experience of an in person visit, eliminates the awkwardness that can sometimes accompany a traditional phone call, and most importantly, can leave the patient feeling just as happy as they would in the case of an in-person visit due to the brain’s physiological reaction.

The benefits of video conferencing in remote patient diagnosis, increased access to specialists, and to higher quality care in rural areas have been well known for some time. However, there is an additional benefit to these systems in the case of providing communication between patients and loved ones in their time of need, resulting in better patient satisfaction.

It seems that in a scientific sense, misery does indeed love company, not to spread the negative, but rather to replace it with the positive.

HealthAV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. TeleHealth Services and Avidex divisions of Telerent Leasing Corporation, are pleased to announce the emergence of HealthAV, excellence in Healthcare Professional AV design and system integration services. Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

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Resources:

#1: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-410783/The-proof-visiting-people-hospital-really-does-good.html

#2: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2013/07/02/patient-satisfaction-hits-physician-pay/#53b7241e133f

 

#3: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/healthcare/hospitals-expand-visiting-hours-to-accommodate-patients-families

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

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

Creating Better Patient Outcomes through Interactive Technology

The last 54 hours have not been easy. Your son was taken to the hospital unexpectedly. He was first brought to the emergency room, then was admitted into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and finally admitted into the hospital. A battery of tests, 2 days of observation, and 2 nights sleeping in the chair next to his bed later, it’s finally time to be discharged. The doctor comes in and quickly goes over care instructions at home, warning signs to look for, prescriptions to collect, and follow up visits to schedule with a Primary Care Physician (PCP) and specialists. The problem is now that you’re driving home, you remember very little of those instructions.

Given how important these instructions are and how much effort the patient put into understanding and remembering them, why would this happen? The answer is actually fairly intuitive.

First, these instructions are given during or directly after a situation that has caused a lot of stress. Studies show the “negative impact of stress and anxiety” on the ability of a person to learn and retain information. Unfortunately, much of this information and many of the after-care instructions may perhaps being delivered at the worst possible time for absorption.

Secondly, the instructions are typically given verbally or in written form by the physician or a member of the hospital staff. OSHA has done studies that show people only remember 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear, which means if they read along while the physician is speaking, they may remember about 30% of it. However people will remember 50% of what they see and hear together, and that goes up to 70% if a task is involved as well.

Considering these two hurdles, how can a hospital or healthcare facility better deliver important patient education to reduce readmissions and promote more positive patient outcomes?

Enter interactive patient education systems.

An interactive patient education system takes important patient discharge information, after care instructions, and frequently asked questions and puts them into a digital format including video. The patient is then given access to this media via the in room entertainment system and/or their personal devices like tablets and phones. This allows the patient to learn at their pace when they are ready, helping mitigate the potential for low retention during a time of high stress or anxiety. They also allow hospital staff to launch pieces of information to each patient remotely, creating a more efficient method of delivery, as opposed to using “sneaker-net” to walk a DVD or tape to each room.

Another benefit of using an interactive patient engagement system is that it puts the patient in the driver seat. Given that people naturally remember more when doing tasks associated with the information being relayed, making the information interactive and navigable by the patient increases their retention and promotes better patient outcomes. It also reinforces the learning experience, which means not only do these systems promote better outcomes, but they also promote better patient satisfaction. Many times the information, once digitized can also be accessed and reviewed once the patient returns home, anytime and anywhere, reducing the chances of complications and readmissions.

Many systems also utilize surveys for patients to share input about their care as well, giving the facility an opportunity to improve on the fly and better understand individual patient needs.

For the healthcare provider, interactive patient education systems assure a consistent approach in the delivery of information. They can also interact with other hospital ADT and EMR systems to automatically create records and automate documentation of what information was shared and when, further reducing liability.

In the final analysis, interactive patient engagement solutions are easy to deploy and offer an extremely high ROI when considering better outcomes and increased satisfaction for patients, and increased efficiency, reduced readmissions, and reduced liability for healthcare providers. Just another way that technology is helping healthcare improve in the modern age.

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: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/neuroscience-behind-stress-and-learning-judy-willis

#2: https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy07/sh-16600-07/training_techniques2.ppt

#3: https://www.telehealth.com/interactive-solutions

#4 https://www.telehealth.com/interactive-solutions/tigrap

Joel Harris

About Joel Harris

Joel Harris brings invaluable insight to the Avidex team in his role as CEO, with years of experience leading national technology, healthcare and business organizations. You can reach Joel at jharris@avidexav.com