- This past year has proven an eventful one in the patient engagement space. Industry focus on nursing communications, high patient satisfaction and CAHPS scores, and patient experience tips has highlighted a key shift in the healthcare industry: patient engagement is no longer about making patients happy, but instead about a holistic clinical experience.
Overwhelmingly, this year’s most-read articles emphasize the importance of the patient experience. As patients continue to assume more financial responsibility for their own healthcare, ensuring patient satisfaction and a positive patient experience have become high priorities for organizations. Understanding the difference between the two has become the linchpin in delivering both quality healthcare and a top-notch hospital encounter.
Separately, 2017’s most clicked articles highlight the shift toward more value-based care models. The trend of value-based care in patient engagement is still emerging. As the healthcare industry is poised for a tumultuous 2018, it is likely more industry leaders will be looking for key patient engagement strategies to drive value-based care success.
Below is PatientEngagementHIT.com’s annual countdown of the top-rated articles from 2017:
There is a misconception surrounding patient engagement and satisfaction that suggests that shiny floors and delicious food are the keys to success. That is simply not the case, argued Press Ganey’s Chief Nursing Officer Christy Dempsey in an interview.
Instead, reducing patient harm, focusing on alleviating patient fears, and committing to teamwork and care coordination will help create a more positive patient experience focused on clinical success.
Nurses, who serve as the primary conduit for patients and families in the healthcare space, are especially focused on improving patient relationships and communication.
One 2017 study suggested that establishing better connections and yielding more meaningful conversations can be as simple as asking to sit beside the patient. This strategy helped improve patient satisfaction scores in a hospital setting, the study authors explained.
Although the healthcare industry is in general agreement that patient engagement is about building strong personal relationships with patients, clinicians are unsure of where those relationships should begin with different populations.
Patients aged 18 to 25 will likely interact with their provider differently than a senior patient will, researchers have argued. Understanding those generational differences will help providers better target their patient experience efforts.
Organization leaders are continuously looking to solve the elusive patient experience puzzle. The industry has reached no overarching consensus related to measuring the patient experience, and tapping into patient preferences for healthcare proves difficult for hospitals and practices.
This healthcare study contends that assessing patient complaints can give critical insight into the patient experience. Specifically, the researchers uncovered that patients were less bothered by clinical mistakes than by poor office communication.
Buzzwords abound in the healthcare space. As hospitals and practices continue to participate in more value-based care models, they are working to understand the role patient engagement plays in success.
This list of patient engagement terms that influence value-based care include risk stratification, the social determinants of health, and chronic disease management.
Patient satisfaction and patient experience are two oft-conflated terms in healthcare. This confusion makes it difficult for organizations to make an accurate and targeted plan to improve healthcare for patients.
The patient experience pertains to the entire clinical encounter, ranging from interactions with the health system to quality of clinical care. Separately, patient satisfaction refers to the organization’s ability to meet patient expectations related to care and their time in the clinic or hospital.
Healthcare organizations are focused on reaching high-risk and high-cost patients to better engage those patients in their health and yield more success in value-based payment models. As a part of those efforts, organizations are working to enhance their chronic disease management plans.
Healthcare experts maintain that chronically ill patients do not have low care plan compliance because they are being stubborn or contrary. Instead, these patients face a series of cost and care access barriers that make it difficult for patients to fully engage in care and adequately manage their chronic illness.
Patient satisfaction is not only a moral obligation for providers, but also a financial one. Good scores on patient satisfaction surveys – especially the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) surveys – are tied to hospital reimbursement rates.
As a result, organizations are working to improve their CAHPS scores by improving patient satisfaction in key, measurable areas.
Improving the patient experience is not necessarily as easy as completing three key tasks. However, working to improve patient safety, establish retail best practices, and create convenient care access will make patients happier.
Although the patient experience hinges on more than just a few simple fixes, delivering safe and high-quality care alongside a consumer-centric approach will ideally improve the hospital or clinic encounter.
Medical professionals all recognize the benefits – and imperative – to establishing a positive rapport with patients. However, with crowded clinical workflows and a growing list of metrics nurses and doctors need to hit, it is difficult to establish this connection.
Press Ganey Chief Nursing Officer Christy Dempsey shared her 56-second strategy to building better patient relationships. Providers should work to make a personal connection as quickly as possible, and continue to reinforce that and other commonalities as they continue to build the patient-provider relationship.