Imagine a chronically ill patient calling a hospital for an appointment with their primary doctor.
They keep calling the hospital incessantly, with no luck.
Finally, when they get through, they are informed that appointments are not available and that they have to wait for few weeks to get it.
Here’s another scenario.
A patient with a chronic heart condition is admitted in an emergency. Considering that the hospital does not have the latest data on the patient’s condition, the patient undergoes a battery of tests before the actual diagnosis or treatment begins.
These scenarios are not imaginary. These are real-world examples.
From getting appointments to receiving timely treatment, patients face a tough time in hospitals.
Instead of feeling safe, they get anxious, and the entire experience becomes unnerving, for both the patients and their caregivers.
One cannot blame the hospitals. The medical practitioners and other staff members are so overwhelmed with the routine work that they are unable to offer the right kind of support and care to a chronically ill patient. All of this leads to bad patient experience.
Patient experience is imperative for the well-being of the patient and the reputation of the hospital. The patient must feel comfortable and safe at every touchpoint – right from the time they enter the doctor’s waiting room, get admitted to exiting the hospital, or after they get discharged from the hospitals.
The only way to do it is by bringing the focus back to the patient experience.
To bring back the focus on patient experience, hospitals must consider leveraging technology.
Let’s look at a few areas where hospitals can start creating positive experiences for the patients by using technology.
According to a study by Accenture, 68% of patients prefer a healthcare provider who gives them the flexibility to book, cancel, or change their appointments online.
Hospitals should build an intuitive mobile app to enable patients to book or cancel their appointments in one click. This will save the patients from the trouble of waiting on line to talk to the hospital staff. The patient experience can be further improved by sending the patients automated reminders on their upcoming appointments. This will help the hospital reduce the no-show by patients and remind patients of their impending visit to the hospital.
Long waiting time can be quite frustrating for the patients and their caregivers. Hospitals can address this issue by providing all the relevant reports and bills online. For example, the patients need not wait to receive their test reports before seeing the doctor. Neither do they have to wait at the billing counter to pay the bills. They can directly make the payment through a mobile app and also access their reports through it. Those same reports should also be made accessible to the doctor so that they can treat the patient immediately – without needing patients to carry physical files.
Communication is the most important aspect of the patient experience. Every interaction with the patient should be clear and transparent. Hospitals can improve their experience by strengthening their communication with the patients and their caregivers. From offering telehealth consultation to chronically ill patients to sending automated reminders about upcoming appointments, stocking up pills, etc., continuous communication with the patients can help hospitals to improve the patient experience.
Emergency admissions and re-admissions can be avoided if doctors have the latest information about the patient’s health. They can intervene on time and save the patient from getting admitted to the hospital. Technology can play a role here. Doctors can advise patients to use wearable devices to monitor their vitals and receive updates on their well-being in real-time. Hospitals can also introduce mobile apps that allow patients to track their progress and action personalized care plan. Such plans can allow caregivers and clinicians to track outcomes and goals progress – which is especially useful for managing chronic diseases.
Typically, hospitals take a more clinical approach while interacting with patients. This can be changed by taking a more human approach. Data can play a crucial role here. Every patient is different and needs an individualized plan to improve their health. Doctors can leverage the data generated by the wearable used by the patients to understand how the patient is responding to the treatment. They can use the information to create a better care plan. They can monitor the patient continuously and reach out to the patient when needed.
Patients with chronic health conditions require continuous care. The current situation of COVID-19 has shown how ill-equipped hospitals are to manage massive footfalls. Chronically ill patients have been asked to avoid hospital visits, which has put a halt to their treatment.
That’s where out-of-hospital care can come to rescue. At Avegen, we provide hospitals with health management platforms that enable doctors and hospital staff to personalize treatments and offer continuous support to chronically ill patients. Over 900+ healthcare providers have been able to provide better patient experience with the help of this platform.