Despite popular understanding that ‘patient experience’ comprises only of medical treatment at a healthcare facility, it is important to look at it in further detail. The Agency of 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.’
This clearly means that it is not just the medication and interaction with the doctor and caregiver that influences a particular patient’s experience during treatment but also various aspects which are significant.
In one of our earlier posts we had outlined the benefits of adopting an integrated real-time location system (RTLS) for improved throughput for the healthcare sector. That post was from a technical standpoint, introducing key features of the system and how it can be positioned in a hospital set-up. The working of an RTLS was mentioned along with the top benefits of this system.
In this post we look at why patient experience matters and ways to improve it.
Hospitals can be highly confusing places: the expansive facility, its floor plan, and the bustle created by both visitors and staff can make patients (and their aides) nervous and jumpy. Despite the presence of directional signs, it is not uncommon to find visitors queuing up at help desk(s) within the facility, asking for directions to reach a particular point of interest inside the building.
While some get lucky and reach their intended destination in no time, a majority of visitors remain clueless about finding the shortest route to a certain point.
This is where a hospital navigation system comes in handy. When installed on a Smartphone or a tablet, visitors/patients will be in a position to access the floor plan of the facility on a real-time basis, ensuring hospital wayfinding becomes accurate through the blue-dot navigator.
This saves a lot of time and energy for both parties – the patients & their aides/visitors and the hospital staff as crowd concentration at help desks can be reduced.
Queue Management – Healthcare Technology
Another situation which adds to a shoddy patient experience is at the reception desk, mostly. It gets hectic for both the hospital staff and the visitors as it is not an easy task to manage crowds, as everyone vies for the fastest appointment with the specialist.
When hospitals resort to a queue management system which responds on a real-time basis, it becomes less of an ordeal in booking your appointment with the intended healthcare professional.
While there are quite a few web applications for scheduling appointments and managing queues, it becomes imperative for the healthcare center to opt for an integrated solution which brings together indoor navigation as well as queue management.
In addition to this, if the healthcare technology can also aid in asset tracking, it is sure to result in an improved throughput for the facility as well.
Patients and their attendants tend to get baffled when their queries/requests to the hospital staff go unanswered. Not responding may not be an intentional gesture from the healthcare provider, as clarity of answer needs to be established with the medical team first.
This operational delay can affect patient experience negatively. To abate a negative experience it is vital for hospitals to rely on technology.
Healthcare technology is growing by leaps & bounds and most top-of-the-list institutions ensure they deploy a workforce communication tool to ensure seamless collaboration amongst them.
A few healthcare centers have gone the extra mile by adopting a tech platform which allows patients and their aides to interact with staff using their Smartphones and get responses instantly.
Ways to Improve Patient Experience
An indoor navigation system, when supported by Geofencing technology, can double up as a virtual perimeter for the entire facility.
Once a Geofence is installed, the facility managers can keep track of all the devices entering or exiting the demarcated area. This adds an additional layer of data-driven security for the entire facility.
Post-treatment Consultation Support
For patients who’ve underwent a medical procedure, review consultations with the medical team can be scheduled better, avoiding overcrowding or no-shows.
Patients or their aides can engage with the medical team through a healthcare tech platform such as an app or a web application which can be downloaded on their smart devices.
Instant Feedback Interface
How do medical centers gauge patient experience?
The healthcare center’s admin team can gain insights into service delivery encompassing various aspects of the patient’s journey while at the facility – what’s need is a ‘smart’ app to gather patient experience data.
An interface such as a Smartphone application allows patients to rate their experience, thus giving the hospital admin data to identify lacuna and address them.