The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines patient experience as, “the range of interactions that patients have with the health care system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses, and staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other health care facilities.” Patient experience encompasses multiple aspects of healthcare delivery that patients value when seeking care, including timely appointments, ease of access to information and effective communication with providers.
It’s important to note how patient experience differs from patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction is centered around a patient’s expectation about a healthcare encounter. Patient experience aims to understand if a standard healthcare practice such as clear communication from a provider occurred and how often it occurred during a patient’s healthcare experience.
Looking to improve patient experience at your organization? Here are three strategies that can help your care teams build upon your current patient experience efforts.
Support effective communication with patients and families
The impact of COVID-19 has placed even more importance on healthcare organizations’ adoption of effective communication tools and programs. An article recently published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine identifies three key communication values that healthcare organizations should practice in the context of COVID-19: prioritizing communication, maintaining active engagement with patients and families and enhancing communication with technology.
When providers work to ensure timely and clear communication, they can better manage expectations of patients and families, contribute to building patients and families’ confidence and reduce feelings of anxiety and vulnerability. Patient and family centered rounds (PFCRs) offer providers a great opportunity to build connection and shared understanding with patients and families. They serve as an opportunity for patients and families to develop rapport and trust with providers through consistent interaction.
Outside of PFCRs, patients and families can maintain engagement in between rounds by actively recording patient symptoms or behaviors. These simple actions help loved ones feel a sense of control amidst the anxiety or helplessness they might be experiencing due to their current situation. Providers can also reinforce that family members are the expert on their loved ones by inviting their insights and perspectives on the progress of their family member. This builds trust and can contribute to a sense of teamwork between staff, patients and families. In the case of an adverse event, it’s crucial for staff to practice good communication with patients, families and other members of the care team.
The Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) toolkit helps institutions combine a “head & heart” approach to communication with patients, families and other providers after an adverse event. Dr. Tim McDonald, Chief Patient Safety & Risk Officer at RLDatix, notes that by adopting the CANDOR toolkit, organizations can successfully create cultures of trust and make greater returns on the investments that they have made. By integrating CANDOR into an organization’s communication efforts, care teams can learn how to harness empathic and compassionate communication, reduce harm and mitigate risk. Each of these components work together to support patient experience.
Maintain communication efforts between care teams
Safety huddles serve as a daily communication touchpoint that allows care teams to discuss safety events, share patient concerns and identify any gaps that could lead to patient safety issues. During a safety huddle, teams can cover a multitude of topics related to patient experience and safety including equipment issues, medication concerns, visitor requirements or patients who are at a high risk for falling. When care teams across an organization participate in safety huddles, they are better prepared to identify and address any issues that could impact patient experience. RLDatix supports an organization’s safety huddle efforts with a digital control center used to discuss on-going events, initiatives and concerns, all while supporting teams in processing information shared in the huddle.
Give patients a voice to provide input and feedback
The Harvard Business Review highlights sustaining patient loyalty as a key component to improving and maintaining patient experience. When healthcare organizations consistently provide positive experiences, they are better positioned to support their long-term efforts of improving overall patient experience for all patients. A valuable way to help ensure that an organization is continuing to evolve and improve patient experience is by collecting input and feedback directly from patients and families. Collecting patient feedback helps providers in a variety of ways. Positive and negative feedback helps organizations improve quality of care, identify if any care gaps exist, increase the level of engagement from patients and help drive the organization’s revenue.
Every interaction a patient has with a care provider and every piece of feedback a patient provides is a unique opportunity for an organization to shape a patient experience. RLDatix helps you gain better insights into patients’ experiences with software that allows organizations to capture patient and staff feedback in real time, monitor trends to improve care processes and optimize patient experience and executive rounding. RLDatix also equips organizations with a tool to easily create and distribute surveys across different points of care. Using the software, organizations can collect and monitor relatable feedback to improve service and deliver personalized care.
How RLDatix supports the future of patient experience at your healthcare organization
As the future of the global healthcare market continues to put emphasis on delivering high-value care with a concentration on patient experience, it is increasingly important that organizations implement strategies to support patient experience efforts. Prioritizing effective communication with patients and families, maintaining communication organization-wide care teams and giving patients the opportunity to provide input and feedback can help you evolve your current patient experience efforts.
The RLDatix suite of solutions and programs includes robust tools to help organizations achieve their patient experience goals. These range from streamlined safety huddle management to communication practices from the CANDOR toolkit. As healthcare continues to evolve, RLDatix tools and programs remain consistent in helping organizations create meaningful patient experiences and supporting them in improving future patient experience efforts.