More and more consumers are becoming highly adept users of smartphone technology and social media in the internet age. This has created unique challenges for hospitals and health systems across the continent since anyone in the room can snap a selfie, post a bad review instantly and disseminate it to 1000s of people with a single uploaded status. As administrators and clinicians serving the Commonwealth’s health needs, we must learn how to use these posts to our advantage and protect our organizations from medical-legal liability.
Cracking down on cell phones at the bedside is going to be impossible to achieve. Most smartphone users are never without their devices, and the best defence against a bad patient satisfaction score is a great offence. Instead of banning cellular phones in inpatient rooms, many hospitals and health systems have begun integrating them into the treatment process.
One of the best ways to do this is to provide educational resources and digital signage for healthcare topics in the patient rooms and hallways. Using electronic billboards to highlight current events taking place inside the facility (upcoming community health screenings, benefit events, and more) reduces the unsightly amount of thumbtacked memorandums cluttering the walls of patient areas and gives your consumers the perception that you are a facility up to date on the latest tech in all areas.
With the invention and implementation of completely electronic medical records, your healthcare staff has been charting and taking educational in-services online for at least the last decade. Why not encourage your patients to do the same thing? Create a specialized link within your hospital’s Patient Portal (where they log in to request appointments, review their lab results and ask for medication refills) that gives high-quality layman education about their health issues and recommendations for lifestyle changes? We all know that the first thing they do after they get home from discharge is toss that thick paper packet into the waste bin and then pick up the remote to keep watching their shows.
While that may meet the government’s burden of proof that you attempted to educate your patients? You’ll see increased costs from readmissions that could have been avoided by changing how you are teaching them. Some hospitals around the world have had their IT department partner with software developers to create video game-style patient education scenarios. Using a program that encourages deductive reasoning and provides instant gratification for good answers may make the education process more accessible to all ages and grade levels.
Another way hospitals are looking to improve patient satisfaction is through post-discharge surveys. After being discharged home, the QA department sends out an email requesting patient feedback within 48 hours. The gap in this plan is that many patients don’t complete the surveys in a timely fashion, if at all. This leaves hospitals holding the burden of performing constant internal analysis to ensure good outcomes.
Implementing Feedback Kiosks at regularly high traffic areas in the facility gives families the chance to acknowledge staff who have excelled or areas that can improve in real-time. Creating a kiosk incentive like credits toward a snack from the cafeteria or gifting a deserving staff member something small would encourage the patients to use the device while still being served and reduce the response time from QA in addressing concerns. To analyze the data meaningfully, the kiosk could ask patients to enter their unique date of birth, and medical record number, which government regulations require is printed on their identification bracelets.
Digital signage in the halls and at customer kiosks doesn’t just benefit patients. Having intranet sites dedicated to staff development and continuing education will allow your employees to access e-Learning and policy/procedure manuals quickly and take those unseemly binders that are held together by love and dust mites from your nursing stations. Our team can partner with your internal IT and Education Services to make these a reality your staff will enjoy accessing 24 hours a day.
Patient satisfaction comes down to one simple principle at the end of the day: where they listened to during their journey through your hospital? By providing them multiple opportunities to voice their opinions and concerns throughout their stay in real-time, hospital administrators will see a significant improvement in how patients rate their care. Continuing to integrate technology and smartphone computing is the only way hospitals and health systems will keep up with the current trends in popular culture. Smartly pairing a solid marketing plan with regular consumer data collection will allow your management team to address the necessary areas. And by using digital technology, less paperwork is cluttering the desks of those who need to review it, and more work is accomplished.
Our company looks forward to partnering with your facility and health system as you navigate your way through this new landscape of inpatient care surveys. Please Contact Us via this site and schedule your consultation with one of our highly trained staff members.