by Marnie Lange Cossette, Director of Product Management
“Patient experience” is a phrase that we hear a lot in healthcare — and for a good reason. Happy patients are more likely to be engaged in their care, attend follow-up appointments and adhere to their plan of care. Good patient experiences lead to healthier patients and better outcomes.
But it doesn’t take long until something becomes undeniably evident: An excellent patient experience is what brings new patients in and keeps existing patients coming back.
As a result, as healthcare professionals, we are always looking for ways to improve the patient experience. When we think about how to start improving patient experience in a clinic setting, we often hear about engaging patients in their care. Some of the modalities suggested include:
- improving ways to access care;
- sharing decision-making;
- and increasing communication between patients and providers.
Although these are basic things that need to be addressed, the challenge is to look for innovative ways to take the patient experience to the next level — and there are tangible steps you can take to do just that.
Many healthcare systems have started to successfully utilize Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) to improve the experience by keeping patients informed of waiting times, giving them visibility into where they are at in their care. By providing patients with estimated wait times, patients know that they haven’t been forgotten, allowing them to set time expectations.
Patient satisfaction is often about providing information. Even patients who need to wait are more likely to be satisfied with their care if the waiting time is visible and they are updated as it changes.
RTLS can also improve the patient experience through automated messaging to families. Families can now understand where their loved ones are in their care — and this communication can happen automatically, giving caregivers a break from manual communication while easing anxiety for those in the waiting room. Imagine the enhanced patient experience when family members and friends can glance up at a screen or receive text on their phone to see the latest updates in the care that their loved one is currently receiving.
Providers and clinicians, too, will see benefits from these powerful tools. Patient wait times and status updates are all driven by location movements and don’t require manual intervention from staff, leaving people free to go about their work while knowing patients and others are getting the information they need. Because of this, the enhanced patient experience comes at no resource cost.
Next time your healthcare facility is trying to figure out how to improve the patient experience, think about leveraging proven technologies — like RTLS — and you can stand out from others in the field by delivering the ultimate patient experience.