Increased awareness of medical errors and rising healthcare costs have drawn attention to improving the quality of care patients receive in healthcare facilities. To ensure improvements in healthcare quality, various care redesign initiatives are being taken and evaluated as well as efforts are being made to improve care coordination, safety, patient outcomes, cost-cutting, and efficiency.
Primary care providers are more connected to patients and are in a better position to understand an individual patient’s journey and needs. Hence, they’re best positioned to impact the quality of patient care. When it comes to patient-centred care, primary care providers can act as a hub.
If you’re not sure how to improve patient care, this guide offers some effective tips:
Prioritize Improving Patient Experience
Research shows that negative patient experience is among the top reasons why patients switch providers. Studies also suggest that patients receiving high-quality care remain more committed and engaged with the treatment plans and are more receptive to healthcare advice.
Therefore, start prioritizing patient experience in your healthcare facility. This should help improve all aspects of patient care, such as communication, documentation, supplying records, shaping attitudes, and more.
Consider Using Language Your Patients Understand
Effective communication has always been a critical component of healthcare service. To build patient trust and increase satisfaction, you need to enhance the communication skills of the medical staff.
Clearly communicating the course of action and health information often translates into better health outcomes, especially in connection with certain chronic diseases, including greater control over diabetes, better medication compliance for high blood pressure, and a decrease in mortality associated with heart diseases.
When it comes to communication, though, few healthcare providers talk to their patients using terminology they can easily understand. The medical field is full of jargon that’s hardly understood by ordinary people. Besides this, not being able to set aside your own personal reactions and your own perception of the world are some other factors that may hinder effective communication.
Healthcare providers need to do their best to eliminate these obstacles and ensure their messages are clearly understood by patients. While clear communication helps improve patient care, ineffective communication often results in increased readmission rates and poor follow through leads to worsening of disease. If communication involves negativities such as degrading or humiliating patients, a healthcare facility can even face malpractice claims.
Work with Patients’ Advocates
To engage patients and keep them committed to treatment plans, healthcare providers must also understand what’s there in patients’ minds. In many cases, however, it’s not easy to make out patient’s views and opinions, preventing the healthcare providers from delivering patient-centred care. That’s where a patient advocate can help.
A patient advocate can be the patient’s family member or friend, or even a hired independent professional that serves as a bridge between the healthcare provider and the patient. Not only do they help you obtain a better understanding of what the patient feels, but they also assist the patient in understanding the treatment process and various options they have.
Make the Most of Healthcare Data
According to the modern data-driven world, you can’t manage things without analysing them. A sophisticated and highly efficient way to improve the quality of patient care is to analyse the existing healthcare data to identify areas of opportunities and improvements. Advanced IT-based systems have made a wealth of data available that drive more connected and patient-centric care.
Healthcare data includes both patient data and information regarding organisational operations. Healthcare providers can use the insights obtained from data analysis to set minimum benchmarks for patient care and outcomes, which can then serve as metrics for evaluation.
While Electronic Health Records (EHRs) were primarily introduced to foster patient-centred care, it mostly focuses on documentation, efficient billing, and more revenue generation.
If you really want to improve patient care, you’ll need to start tracking patient experiences, including negative ones, just as you track your billing. Closely monitor overall well-being of patients, patient outcomes, and costs for individual patients throughout their healthcare journeys.
You can do that through EHRs, conducting patient satisfaction surveys, outcome studies, and other information sources to collect data. If you’re a large healthcare facility collecting massive amounts of data, you may even consider using Big Data solutions such as Apache Hadoop, which helps organise large volumes of structured and unstructured data and make insightful interpretations from it.
Collaborate with Specialised Organisations
Once you’ve identified operational errors and areas of improvement in patient care, your focus should shift on how to improve the quality of care. One tremendous strategy is to connect with companies or agencies that specialise in providing patient-centred care services. Backed by in-depth research, these organisations can suggest ways to eliminate shortcomings and solutions to problems.
Choosing an organisation is not simple, though. You’ll need to extensively research online, read literature, and attend conferences to track the best care agencies. Once you’ve identified certain companies, connect with them and take the opportunity to learn from them. The best care companies will be happy to share experiences like how they’ve helped healthcare providers make a positive difference in the lives of certain patients.
Once you find the right care agency, partner up with them to enhance patient care and patient outcomes.
Let’s take an example to clarify this. Suppose you find out that your healthcare facility lacks staff with a patient-centric mindset, which is impacting the quality of healthcare. A specialised care agency such as Careline Solutions can help you recruit the right care staff, including nurses, ancillary staff, managers, etc.
Now that you’ve obtained valuable insights into how to improve patient care, it’s time to execute these strategies. Besides the points mentioned above, you also need to consider your staff, as their attitude has a huge impact on the patient and their experience.
For recruitment of experienced staff, contact Careline Solutions today.