The Building Blocks for Implementing a Successful Patient Engagement Solution
A white paper on choosing a scalable, integrated patient care technology solution.
This white paper looks at how greater emphasis is being placed on enhancing the patient experience in hospital and healthcare settings. This is the result of patient satisfaction and HCAHPS scores having a direct impact on the bottom line in terms of retaining reimbursements and referrals. Targeted technology solutions such as touch-enabled interactive e-whiteboards and e-tablets, enterprise software platforms and app-based patient televisions are available to help facilities increase patient engagement and manage to healthcare regulation metrics. While many community and mid-size healthcare facilities might believe such solutions are out of reach, the reality is the technology is scalable and can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively with a high return on the investment.
The Patient Experience: Why is it important?
There is no doubt that the focus on creating a positive impact on a patient’s experiences is greater than ever. This is due in large part to pay-for performance measures that tie patient satisfaction scores to Medicare reimbursements. The ability to create an environment in which patients and their families feel comfortable, where patients are receptive to understanding their medical conditions and where they feel empowered to take a proactive role in their own care can have a profound influence on whether they perceive their overall experience in a positive light. While the delivery of care by a healthcare organization is important, so is the patient’s perception of the experience. How a patient scores the healthcare facility on a number of metrics under HCAHPS requirements, ranging from friendliness of the medical staff to adequate communication and cleanliness of the facility, makes a significant impact on retaining millions in reimbursements or facing a reduction in those dollars.
Delivery of Care: Perception is Everything
Many hospitals, health systems and clinics are addressing this challenge by instituting a range of initiatives. For example, emphasis is being placed on delivery-of-care influencers, such as educating clinical staff and physicians to change their behaviors when it comes to attending patients. How clinical staff and physicians interact with patients has a tremendous impact on scores. Are doctors and nurses approachable? Does the patient feel he or she was given appropriate time and attention from staff? Are procedures and medical conditions adequately explained? Does the patient feel comfortable? Would they recommend the facility to others? What patient engagement initiatives do we offer that create a better patient experience?
Patient Satisfaction Metrics Using Technology Solutions
As health facilities work to bring a more comprehensive approach to enhancing the patient experience, they are also searching for ways to track specific metrics that can influence patient satisfaction scores. Because patient satisfaction scores are typically conducted by a third party after a patient’s release from the hospital or healthcare facility, the ability to understand whether there are any potential issues that could negatively impact those scores while the patient still is under the facility’s care is valuable. Essentially, having access to this business intelligence can help facilities gain actionable knowledge to influence patient perceptions, address potential issues while the patient is still under its care and act on service recovery. Facilities can use digital whiteboards, in-room televisions and integrated software to conduct patient surveys in real time and aggregate the information for historical reporting. This knowledge can be used to take corrective action. Having the ability to gain business intelligence relative to patient perceptions early in the process can help increase post-care scoring with the added advantage of reducing readmissions.
Enterprise-Wide Integration Supports Quality Initiatives
Hospitals, healthcare facilities and clinics can avail themselves of software platforms aimed at improving the patient experience. Some of this focus is on the survey methodology itself. Toolkits and processes can help facilities measure, evaluate and improve patient satisfaction through reporting to aggregate results. There are solutions available to put facilities in a better position not only to improve the experience of patients, but to manage to metrics and KPIs. These technology solutions range from interactive whiteboards and app-based televisions to educational software that can be implemented on an enterprise scale from a single location. In other words, the power of delivering information to patients and making their experience an overall pleasant one can be leveraged throughout the organization while being driven from a Nurses’ station or a central desk, for example. The organization achieves consistency throughout the enterprise. An integrated patient engagement and monitoring system frees caregivers to focus more on that all-important patient care relationship and less on nonclinical work and paperwork. It’s a win-win.
Improving Efficiency and Workflows
With interactive technologies such as digital whiteboards and tablets, providers have access to thousands of applications to deliver and manage information. Physicians can display consultation and diagnosis images on interactive whiteboards and patient in-room televisions, and patients can access educational content to learn more about their conditions, treatment plans and post-care recommendations. Nursing staff can manage service requests, patient status alerts and visitation status immediately, and update a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) automatically with the touch of a button during rounds. Enterprise solutions enable caregivers to order patient equipment from the patient room, track and locate needed equipment, identify the location of caregivers in cases of emergency and tie into Nurse Call systems for more efficient code and alert response. This ultimately serves patients patients by reducing staff task saturation and improving overall operational efficiency.
In addition, technology solutions providing access to social network channels, streaming and movie options, games and video calls with loved ones engage patients in powerful ways. They feel more at ease and, in fact, experience a level of distraction that can actually be healthy. Numerous studies have shown that patients who are undergoing lengthy treatments benefit from social connection and relaxation therapy. This helps them achieve a level of emotional comfort, reduced anxiety and lower stress levels — which can translate to a higher HCAHPS score.
Scalability with an Enterprise Approach Makes Technology Solutions Affordable
With so much at stake, it makes sense to implement an enterprise-wide solution that can help providers proactively influence patient satisfaction while the patient still is under care. There is a clear return on investment. Many community and mid-size health facilities, however, are missing out on the opportunities available through enterprise-wide implementation of these interactive technologies and accompanying software solutions.
They often do not explore it because of two primary concerns:
- Limited internal resources. They are concerned it will be a complex undertaking that will create strain and stress on the organization.
- Limited capital dollars. They believe it will be too costly, and that with tight budgets they will be unable to afford it.
These are legitimate concerns, but solutions are available to enable small to mid-size facilities to benefit from an enterprise approach. The costs are not out of reach if the project is undertaken thoughtfully and with the right vendor partner. There are several ways to approach the cost issue:
- Look for a scalable solution.
Many digital, interactive solutions and software available today are scalable in that they can be implemented in a building block approach. Facilities can deploy the solutions in a variety of ways by instituting app-based patient televisions and bringing interactive whiteboards online later to accommodate staff workflows and changing patient demographics. This approach supports and enables time-pressed IT or project coordination staff to manage the implementation process more effectively and is easier on budget cycles. The solution you choose should enable you to obtain aggregated and specific reporting on your KPIs, safety initiatives, resource management, LoS and Turnover, EVS and BMS management, and retail fulfillment, like pharmacy and foodservice operations.
- Choose an option that brings a rapid return on investment.
Solutions should contain pre-built content that can be easily distributed through a cloud or app-based platform, making apps available immediately without tedious software coding. Quick ROI is achievable with cloud and app-based solutions because there is less effort required by the organization to create or input content. Content can be pushed to patient televisions and in-room whiteboards, with response rates, educational viewing and usage data tracked to address any issues up front. The vendor should be adept at creating brand-specific, tailored content on behalf of the organization, saving valuable time and effort and extending the facility brand.
- Partner with a healthcare technology vendor that understands your unique processes and needs.
Vetting a technology provider can be a daunting task. The vendor should offer an extended, real-time demonstration of the solution in action in your facility, so you have an idea of exactly what the experience will be for patients and how the staff will use the technology. The vendor you choose should have deep industry experience and provide a complete implementation plan that addresses your specific processes, concerns and needs. It should offer an ROI analysis and provide a dedicated project manager and software engineer to be available throughout installation and implementation, familiar with your clinical environment to provide professional, on-demand support.
- Look for a solution that fits within the operational budget cycle.
Another barrier to implementing an enterprise-wide solution can be cost. Many facilities may be working with a budget that requires more of a departmental or cyclical approach rather than an “all-at-once” implementation fee. Cloud and app-based interactive devices, televisions and software can be implemented in small focus areas and budgeted accordingly. Individual departments or units can be brought online in a budget-conscious process over time as fiscal cycles and financial planning permits.
The Bottom Line
It’s clear that small to mid-size healthcare facilities must be more focused than ever on patient satisfaction and the patient experience. Enhance your internal patient engagement programs and quality/safety initiatives with enterprise-wide solutions that influence patient satisfaction in real time. These solutions can be implemented through a scalable approach that makes them affordable and practical for organizations working with limited budgets and limited staffing resources.
Established in 2002, HCI continues to operate at the forefront of hospital technology innovation and patient-centric integration solutions. The company is proud of its long history of industry firsts and is dedicated to improving the experiences of patients through innovative software and hardware solutions for hospital, health system and clinical environments. For more information and a no-obligation virtual demo personalized to your healthcare setting, navigate to hci-tv.com or call 800.783.8105.