The United States healthcare industry is the fastest evolving sector that currently employs more than 18 million workers. With increased pressure on medical facilities, it has become more important to elevate the level of patient care and improve service delivery. Many healthcare facilities are working on improving patient outcomes and developing holistic care systems where each patient can receive the utmost care. However, there is a long way to go, especially with the growing aging population and lack of resources. How can medical facilities raise the bar for patient outcomes?
Here are the five ways healthcare facilities can improve patient outcomes.
Providing opportunities for staff development
Healthcare professionals ensure the smooth functioning and running of medical facilities. The quality of medical services depends greatly on a skillful workforce who can deliver their best in challenging circumstances. Healthcare facilities must develop a comprehensive system for onboarding and training medical professionals to drive growth and quality care. Every healthcare facility must support the staff to hone their skills and update their knowledge about the latest trends and technologies. It is the only way to stay relevant in times when the competition and fast-paced environment demands high excellence in every sector of patient care. For instance, with the advancement of technology, every professional working in the healthcare industry needs an online degree program to move forward while continuing their job. Online MBA programs in healthcare information systems can train working professionals according to rising challenges in both management and technology spheres. Intensive learning in accounting, economics, and behavioral management can set the pace for leadership positions and improve patient outcomes.
Improving patient access to care
Access to care is the leading factor in improving patient outcomes and quality healthcare services. When patients receive the right treatment at the right time, it is highly likely that their condition will improve without depleting the resources. In the United States, insurance coverage is a dominant component that decides the continuum of care across different medical facilities. Unfortunately, the uninsured population struggles to find funding for primary healthcare services and lacks access to timely patient care.
Medical facilities can improve access to care with affordable telehealth services where patients can reach doctors and other medical staff in emergencies. The combination of health tech tools and telehealth has gradually improved access to patient care, especially in remote and inaccessible areas. In the wake of a fragmented healthcare system, telehealth and telemedicine are viable options to bridge the gap between patients and primary health care givers. Patients can connect, discuss their cases, and receive care from doctors at their convenience, directly improving patient outcomes. These emerging trends have contributed a lot toward improved healthcare parameters during the pandemic.
Enhancing patient safety
Patients are at high risk while receiving care at medical facilities due to a handful of medical errors. From wrong medication to diagnostic errors to the spread of infections, the stakes are high. Every year almost 1.5 million people die worldwide because of medication errors. Lack of awareness among patients and care providers escalates the detrimental effects. Medical errors not only endanger patients’ lives but also affect healthcare professionals’ performance.
In many cases, medical facilities fail to implement improper safety measures that trigger unsafe practices on the medical premises. However, healthcare facilities can improve patient safety and reduce medical errors by:
- using standard safety procedures,
- collaborating with pharmacists and other healthcare professionals,
- Diagnosing the right health issues quickly
- Making health records more compatible
Effective communication with patients
Effective communication is the most common and best way to improve patient outcomes. Healthcare facilities must train their staff, especially those who directly deal with patients, to practice a more comprehensive way of explaining medical terms to their patients. Physicians, surgeons, and nurses may have memorized all medical terms, but the medical language might be hard for patients to understand since they may have no medical knowledge. Primary healthcare givers must use simple language and avoid jargon at all costs while communicating with patients. They must explain medical terms to patients in detail so that they can get an idea of their medical complications and treatments.
Take patients in confidence by clearly conveying their health condition. Make sure they understand care plans and follow the treatment and medication accordingly. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has outlined some approaches for communication that include:
- Teach-back: where healthcare providers can ask patients to repeat what they understood
- Warm handoff: in which medical staff can update patients on diagnosis and treatment options
- Medication review is when the patient receives guidance on all prescribed medications
Creation of engagement channels
Better healthcare facilities revolve around improved patient outcomes. Medical setups can find ways to engage patients through public platforms like social media channels. For instance, they can go live on Facebook and Instagram about seasonal health issues and share the remedies. In addition, they can also conduct polls on Twitter to get to know their audience better. However, they must comply with HIPAA regulations and rules before posting content on social media platforms.
The CDC reports that the leading cause of death among the US population is cancer and cardiac diseases. Healthcare facilities can prevent the onset of these diseases by engaging patients to raise awareness and by encouraging regular checkups through blogging and podcasts. Blogs provide an immense amount of information on health-related topics in an interesting way. They can also be a good medium to reach potential patients through subscriptions. Regardless of the engagement channels you choose, they can help you establish a strong image in the public’s eye and a robust foundation for improved patient outcomes.
Satisfied patients are the brand ambassadors who can play an integral part in raising the profits of the healthcare facility. Word-of-mouth is more influential than a paid advertisement. Medical facilities can work on improved patient outcomes to increase the number of satisfied patients. From staff training and development to effective implementation of safety protocols to engagement channels, every aspect of patient care needs attention from the medical staff and the healthcare facility’s administration.