How Technology Can Improve Patient Satisfaction in Healthcare
Healthcare processes have moved firmly into the digital age, with advances such as electronic health records (EHRs) creating a more connected environment that improves patient care. More hospitals and practices are leveraging technology to modernize and become “smart facilities” in order to increase patient satisfaction in healthcare. Patient expectations include:
- Greater efficiency: The industry continues to struggle with a nursing shortage: the American Nurses Association estimates that 1 million nurses will retire by 2030, and understaffed nursing programs cannot turn out graduates quickly enough to fill the gaps. But short-staffed facilities still need to meet patient demands for optimal care.
- Greater accuracy: Fewer medical errors mean better patient outcomes.
- Instant access to information: Patients and family members want timely updates and expedited appointments.
- Time savings: Patients want shorter wait times, and facilities also benefit when providers can see more patients per shift, maximizing revenue.
The prescription for all of these goals is technology. Let’s take a look at how tablets for healthcare professionals can improve patient experiences.
1. Tablets for Healthcare Professionals’ Daily Workflows
Healthcare tablets are a quintessential need for smart facilities. Their use can eliminate delays and allow real-time data access for the care team. Clinicians, especially nurses, can use tablets to improve upon several aspects of their workflows, including:
- Speed and timeliness of appointments;
- Input of patient information at the point of care (rather than having to enter it later, relying on potentially faulty memory or notes);
- Access to patient history/EHRs;
- Streamlining of prescription refills with immediate access to approvals/authorizations from doctors.
The increased efficiency and accuracy resulting from immediate and complete access to patient data improve the patient experience in healthcare.
2. Telehealthcare Appointments
According to business data analysts McKinsey & Company, telehealth utilization for office visits and outpatient care was 78 times higher in April 2020 than in February 2020 (the pre-COVID-19 baseline); after that spike, the number stabilized to 38 times higher. Besides the safety of social distancing necessitated by the pandemic, telehealth visits offer the convenience of time savings. Patients can complete an appointment via their smartphone communicating with the provider’s healthcare tablet in 10 to 15 minutes, instead of having to spend multiple hours driving, waiting, completing the visit, and driving back to work or home. The provider has the advantages of accuracy and efficiency with access to patient data, enabling them to increase the number of patients they can see in a day. Telehealth via tablet allows patients to have the experience they want by giving them another option for how they can receive care, thus improving their satisfaction.
3. Automation of Facility Processes
Not having to complete repetitive tasks during a shift frees up time spent in front of a monitor, giving the provider more face time with patients. Healthcare tablets lessen the workload for both doctors and nurses by automating processes such as:
- Appointment scheduling;
- Mobile patient intake and checkout (which can also be done via kiosk);
- Automatic shift reporting;
- Management processes.
In addition, tablets enable the use of analytics on collected medical and pharmaceutical data to make better-informed decisions in areas such as quality of care and research and development. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that using big data could generate up to $100 billion in value annually across the US healthcare system. These analytics can help create more individualized approaches, increasing patient satisfaction in healthcare.
Enhanced Patient Experiences
Healthcare tablets can be used not only by practitioners but also by the patients themselves to achieve a measure of control over their experience and even reduce the caregivers’ workload. Patients can use provided tablets in their hospital rooms to access educational videos, test results, and other materials for greater understanding of their diagnoses and treatment. They can order their meals from the cafeteria or make other service requests such as an extra blanket for increased comfort. They can use apps to self-report and chart their progress — for example, using a pain management app to record pain levels (rather than waiting for a nurse to come around collecting the information). They can complete forms that allow the facility to share information with family members and communicate with other parties such as insurers or social workers. Family members can access the patient’s records, allowing them to potentially spot and correct errors or to get updates during a procedure. The increased comfort, convenience, and control improve patient satisfaction in healthcare.
How Smart is Your Facility?
By implementing smart technology in your healthcare facility, you are giving your patients the best quality care. You are offering them greater control over their experience with options such as information access and the ability to see their providers in multiple ways (online or in person). You’ll also be optimizing processes, enhancing communication and collaboration with the care team, and working efficiently to serve more patients. Let healthcare tablets help you achieve your #1 priority: making sure your patients get the best treatment possible and are comfortable with their experience.