Today, patients expect the best from their medical providers. They are accustomed to receiving hyper-personalized services for everything from their phone plans to delivery and streaming services—and healthcare is no different. Conventional patient care results in decreased patient engagement, lowered patient satisfaction rates, and poor health outcomes. Let’s discuss the patient experience during care and why it’s so important for healthcare organizations to show the patient that you’re truly there for them, as individuals.
What is patient care?
Patient care is the prevention, treatment, and management of illness, but it is also the maintenance of physical and mental well-being through patient care services offered by care providers. Patient healthcare is a cornerstone of value-based care and a crucial component of any successful healthcare organization’s care model.
Discover the seven biggest myths surrounding patient care and how you can improve health outcomes at your own medical practice.
Myth 1: Patient care needs to happen in person.
Fact: Patient care may actually be improved by implementing telehealth solutions.
With the vast array of digital health tools available today, exceptional patient care can be offered via videoconferencing, messaging systems, and other telehealth solutions. High-quality care requires attentiveness from the healthcare provider and a certain level of engagement from the patient. When integrated into a healthcare organization’s care model, telehealth can actually improve the quality of care. Here are some of the benefits of using telehealth to create a better patient healthcare experience:
- Lowered cost: Costs associated with doctor’s visits that go beyond insurance and a copay—such as childcare expenses, transportation fees, and time taken off from work—can be reduced when telehealth solutions are offered.
- More access: With telehealth, healthcare services aren’t restricted to specific regions. This is helpful for patients who live in rural areas and have to travel to the nearest city to get specialized care—or any kind of care.
- More care provider touchpoints: With digital health tools, clinicians can connect with patients more frequently than the traditional care model allows. Telehealth solutions allow care teams to check in on their patients in between visits to make sure they are doing well.
- Better quality of care: Streamlined communication and digital health records ensure that providers have a holistic view of medical history and patient-generated data so they can treat patients more comprehensively. With store-and-forward telehealth solutions, patient health information can even be sent to third-party physicians—such as cardiologists or other specialists—so that they can work together to give the best care possible.
Myth 2: Quality patient care can’t be scaled.
Fact: Care teams can use digital tools to reach more patients.
This myth is related to the first myth. If patient care is only in person, then it’s true that it’s difficult to scale. However, with telehealth solutions, clinicians can reach more patients more frequently. With digital communications channels and automated messaging systems, healthcare providers can reach out to patients to remind them of an upcoming appointment, provide lab results, schedule annual exams, and more without exhausting resources.
Myth 3: Patient care is only focused on medical treatment.
Fact: Patient care considers the social determinants of health that affect the whole person, not just the diagnosed condition.
Only 11 percent of our health is affected by formal healthcare practices. The other 89 percent occurs outside of clinical settings through our genetics, behavior, environment, and social circumstances—otherwise known as the social determinants of health (SDoH). These factors may not affect treatment directly, but they have the power to seriously impact health outcomes. And in some cases, the SDoH can impede a patient’s ability to live a healthy life.
To provide whole-person care, clinicians need to evaluate any possible obstructions that a patient might face when they leave their healthcare facility and come up with adequate solutions. Until they do so, the patient will not be able to reach optimal health.
Myth 4: Patient satisfaction is not part of patient care.
Fact: Patient satisfaction is linked to clinical safety and effectiveness.
Studies show that patient satisfaction, patient safety, and clinical effectiveness go hand in hand. When patient satisfaction data is collected and analyzed, it can reveal gaps in clinical safety and effectiveness. This can, in turn, drive healthcare professionals to make impactful improvements.
Patient satisfaction is becoming increasingly important as consumerism and instant gratification become the new normal for everything—including healthcare. Personalized, convenient care is the key to delivering improved health outcomes.
Myth 5: Patient care is qualitative, not quantitative.
Fact: Patient care can be measured, and care metrics can help you improve your practice.
Patient-reported outcomes, patient experience, and patient satisfaction can all be measured with standardized and clinically validated measurement tools, such as surveys and questionnaires. Digital health tools make it easy to collect patient-generated data and other valuable healthcare insights that reveal gaps in the value-based care model. With this information, care providers can deduce which qualitative practices are supporting or inhibiting positive health outcomes and adjust accordingly.
Myth 6: Patient engagement has nothing to do with patient care.
Fact: Patient engagement improves the quality of care.
Without patient engagement, patients cannot reach optimal health outcomes. It is vital for patients to be active participants in their care—without their motivation and desire to heal, outcomes will be hindered.
Patient engagement has everything to do with patient healthcare. It can help prevent catastrophic health events, such as cancer and heart attacks, and improve a patient’s overall well-being. And increased patient engagement has incredible benefits for healthcare organizations, too—patient engagement strategies can reduce costs and improve patient satisfaction rates.
Myth 7: Patient care requires the bulk of the care team’s time to be spent on administrative tasks.
Fact: Digital tools can help free up care teams to focus on patient care.
A common complaint among healthcare providers is that too much time is spent doing admin tasks rather than working with patients. After all, your staff worked hard to learn how to become skilled, thoughtful, knowledgeable, caring medical professionals—and they want to put their skills to good use. Luckily, with innovative digital health tools, medical providers can step away from the computer screen and back into the clinical setting.
If this is something that your medical practice struggles with, you should seriously consider investing in a comprehensive health system like a Care Management software program to help streamline your patient care coordination. Digital health tools can help care coordinators manage patient records, measure patient-generated data, and efficiently send patient information to clinicians when they need it.
Creating excellent patient care experiences
Patient care is all about working with the patient and their unique health circumstances to ensure that you are offering a holistic care plan. That plan should be designed to increase patient satisfaction and patient engagement in order to improve their health outcomes.
To learn more about how to create excellent patient experiences at your healthcare organization, read our ebook How to Create Amazing Patient Experiences.