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It’s no secret that patients today are more informed than ever before. Today, patients can go online and learn almost everything they need to know about their disease, the various treatment options available, and what current patients are saying about different doctors and hospitals.
Patients now have the power to make informed decisions based on their needs and wants. As a result, healthcare organizations have turned their focus towards patient-centered care that places the patient at the center of everything they do.
Offer Easy-to-Understand Information to Patients
Clinicians often use acronyms and medical jargon which can confuse patients. Translating terms into plain language and simplifying patient processes is important. Let patients know about things like appointment availability, billing processes, and other information relevant to their care upfront.
Patients will have a greater sense of agency over their treatment if the information communicated can be comprehended with less effort. Compared to a more knowledgeable patient, a patient who is confused is less likely to participate in their own care and ask questions.
Increase Staff Visibility and Responsiveness
One of the easiest ways to make patients feel engaged and valued is to make them feel seen and heard. Staff members may be present in the facility, but patients don’t always have easy access to them. Patients frequently feel that their therapists are not paying attention to them when they are behind closed doors, on the phone, or otherwise absorbed in their activities.
However, patients can also feel they are bothering staff by interrupting them with questions or concerns. To avoid this, increase staff visibility and responsiveness through patient relationship management, so patients feel comfortable reaching out to them. Use signage to direct patients to where they can find certain types of help.
Leave office doors open when possible to make it easy for patients to approach clinicians with questions or concerns. You can use the amount of time it takes to reply to patient inquiries and concerns as a metric to track the effectiveness of your engagement activities.
Implement Technology to Streamline Care Processes
Technology can streamline care processes and make it easier for patients to see specialists or get the care they need. In addition, it can help improve communication among staff and patients, as well as between patients and their care team.
Using an online portal to allow patients to schedule appointments, communicate with clinicians and track their care can help reduce the time clinicians spend on administrative tasks and allow them to spend more time engaging with patients.
Improve Communication Strategies
The best way to improve communication is to start by listening. Use empathetic language and encourage patients to talk about their experiences. Make sure that people with impairments can access the various communication channels while also keeping in mind the most effective approach to interact with patients who do not have disabilities.
Organize Patient Experience Forums
Patient experience forums are events where patients are invited to discuss the topics that matter to them most. These events can take many forms. They can be moderated discussions, focus groups, or brainstorming sessions. Patient experience forums allow patients to share their challenges, successes, and ideas with healthcare providers. Patients may have insights that healthcare providers are yet to discover. They can also use the feedback to inform internal decision-making.
Offer a Patient-Friendly Environment and Experience
Offer a patient-friendly environment by providing amenities such as comfortable seats and pillows, warm lighting, and soothing music. Make sure that these amenities are available to patients who need them. Also, put effort into creating a welcoming culture for patients. This can be done by encouraging staff to use welcoming language and connecting with patients as people rather than as cases or numbers.
Making sure patients have access to water and tissues and having staff members greet patients by name whenever possible are steps that can go a long way toward creating a patient-friendly environment and experience.
The healthcare industry is a high-stakes environment with a great deal of change happening. It’s important to keep up with new techniques and methods for improving patient experience and engagement. To engage patients, healthcare companies need to understand what their patients want and how they like to be treated. Then, they must be willing to change their processes and policies to meet those needs.