Studies have shown that empowered patients have better chances of a positive outcome. Empowering and educating patients can significantly bring down medical costs, create a positive patient experience and increase their loyalty.
Fortunately, as healthcare becomes more patient-centric, the need for educating and empowering patients has also gained ground. Empowering patients creates in a powerful positive experience, bringing loyalty. Technology can be particularly useful in this context. We can use it to create a better, personalised hospital stay, educate them and follow up on their care.
Here are some tips to use in using health tech to empower patients:
Using patient portal to set-up appointments, refill prescriptions and linking doctors: The patient portal is often where your patients will first interact with you and this is where they will go back again and again. So, its important that we make this as informative and interactive as possible. Besides the basic links, such as appointment scheduler, tests results, prescription and other contact details, include more informative content. Patient Portal Software can be personalised with links to external websites on related diseases. It should also offer a information on medical packages and what kind of care one can expect. Include billing facility for a cash free experience. It will save valuable office time on your end.
Using health or surgical apps/website to explain treatment: Today we have wide ranging medical data, including detailed treatment options. Doctors can use apps or websites to explain surgeries, injuries or illnesses. Informed patients are less likely to be nervous. They are also far more likely to trust their doctor and the institution.
Get on the EHR train:
If you still do not have an EHR, its high time you did! Electronic health records are becoming critical to ensure safe storage and quick access to a person’s medical records. EHRs also help physicians to make quick and informed decisions because it enables them to view a patient’s entire history, including their lab results, at a moment’s notice.
This generation is used to live online. They shop online, get their information from social media and chat with their friends through web chats or Skype. You must be able to talk to them in their own language. Make yourself accessible through social media, emails and video calls. If this is too intrusive, keep aside an hour for all social media obligations. Look at it this way, your Skype call can also be counted as a consultation!
Digitise the bedside:
Patients are often irked by what they perceive to be the hospital’s obfuscation. Most of them complain that there is no one to explain either the treatment or their progress. An easy solution is to give them digital access to the care they are receiving. Every bedside can carry a tab where patient records are updated regularly. Other information, such as hospital stay rules, discharge rules, prescribed diet and medicine should also be added. Not only does it give your patient a more holistic view of their treatment, it can also save you time through quick access. Some of these are easily linked with patient portal and EHR.
Ask for remote access:
Your patients actually may have a number of tools at their own disposal. Integrating them with their EHR will give you a much better idea of their health when they are out of office. Wearable health sensors today give one information on heart beat, sleep patterns and so on. Remotely monitoring each patient’s progress could be rather tricky. So, you can build in trigger phases, limits which when crossed trigger an alarm. These can be followed up.
Build a community network and put it in the cloud:
Healthcare today is a multi-speciality field. The same patients could be seeing two specialists, live in hospice, engage a nurse and physiotherapist. The healthcare software should also be able to consolidate all the different treatments to get a more complete picture of a patient’s health. Connect the EHR with different regional practices and track your patient’s full progress. By keeping everything in cloud-based software, each specialist can also get quick access to the patient’s history.
Like any service, healthcare can also improve with feedback. This is a complicated field and how a patient feels can be difficult to predict. Patient feedback can also often tell us about the little areas we’ve ignored, but which make an immense difference to the quality of care they receive. Regular surveys, carefully designed questionnaire that go beyond the usual answers give us a truer picture of their experience.