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How to Empower Patients to Play an Active Role in their Hospital Experience

Acute Care November 2, 2020

Patients commonly complain that they feel both uninvolved and uninformed about the care process and their treatment. Fortunately, the patient experience doesn’t have to be this way.

These days, patients want to play an active role in their own care. They want to feel empowered. For that, they need greater control over the decisions and actions related to their health. They want to be at the center of their care team.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

A Blue Shield survey found that 6 in 10 Californians surveyed want to be equal partners with their care team in making their healthcare decisions. But to do so requires that providers put the patient at the center of their healthcare conversations. 1

Patients are eager to learn more about all aspects of their hospital stay. But to be able to participate in their care, they need access to the relevant information, and in a format that is engaging and understandable

The onus is on care providers to clearly, concisely and effectively communicate health information.

According to the Patient Empowerment Network: “Patients make the best decisions when armed with the right information. To make genuinely informed decisions about our treatment we must have access to the relevant information needed to make those decisions.”

So, what information do hospital patients need?

  • Medical and staff information
  • Test results
  • Medical summaries
  • COVID-19 hospital policies
  • Their diagnosis and how to improve their health
  • Diet
  • General hospital information
  • Their discharge plan

WHY EDUCATING PATIENTS MATTERS

REDUCE READMISSION RATES

A Project RED study found that the 370 patients who were provided additional education about their care regimen experienced 30% fewer readmissions and emergency visits than the 368 patients who did not.

Not only does that make for healthier, more satisfied patients and lower healthcare costs. I In addition, hospitals are incentivized in at least two ways to lower readmissions. First is the impact of high readmissions on the hospital’s reputation as a provider of quality healthcare. And now more than ever as hospitals seek to rebuild consumer confidence and trust post-COVID, that is a reputation few hospitals can afford to lose. As researchers in a 2019 study noted,  “Reputation for quality has been discussed as a driver for profits through its effect on increased market share and hospitals may have the incentive to decrease their readmission rates to avoid developing a bad reputation.

In addition, high readmissions directly translate to financial penalties under the CMS Readmission Reduction Program. According to the 2019 study on readmission rates and their impact on a hospital’s financial performance:

“A higher readmission rate was associated with a higher operating margin. An explanation for this finding would be that, possibly hospitals discharge patients too soon to save on costs of service, but only to incur expenses from readmissions or having to pay penalties.”

When aided by interactive technological solutions, hospitals’ patient discharge readiness rating increased by 9%.

INCREASE PATIENT SATISFACTION

The essence of a patient-centric care model is putting the patient at the center of the care team. Making the patient a key participant in their care plan pays dividends not just in creating more empowered patients, but also in creating more satisfied patients. Numerous studies have shown a direct relationship between patient empowerment2  and patient satisfaction.

To provide this positive experience takes a multifaceted approach, one that utilizes both technology and human connection. Traditional approaches to patient education simply aren’t effective. Even in non-COVID times, verbal bedside education has proven to be an ineffective means of relaying critical healthcare information. The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine discovered that, when delivered this way, “40-80% of medical information provided is either instantly forgotten or incorrectly remembered.”

Instead, hospitals are embracing a tech-enabled patient education approach that leverages interactive patient engagement technology, along with the 1:1 education teach back by the bedside nurse. And with more engaging, understandable health education has come greater patient satisfaction.

Interactive patient engagement technology has proven to have significant positive impact on patient satisfaction. HCAHPS scores for Sentrics hospitals using interactive technology are 14% higher than their peer group hospitals.

INCREASE HCAHPS COMMUNICATION SCORES

3Poor communication is consistently one of the biggest beefs patients have with hospitals. Hospitals that deploy interactive patient engagement solutions have experienced significant jumps in communication scores, including:

  • 8% increase in nurse communication rating
  • 11% increase in medication communication rating
  • 12% increase in staff responsiveness ratings

How? By putting the patient’s healthcare information directly at their fingertips, 24/7, on the interactive platform on their patient room TV. The digital whiteboard on the television gives hospital patients a real-time view of important details about their health and hospital stay. By giving patients instant digital access to their care plan, care team, lab results, medications and discharge plan, the hospital facilitates better communication between nurses and patients throughout the duration of their hospital stay.

IMPROVE STAFF EFFICIENCY

Nurses play a significant role in clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. But a

a nurse’s time is spent juggling critical bedside care, with non-clinical tasks that could be automated or done more efficiently.

Interactive patient engagement technology enables hospitals to work more efficiently by automating routine, non-clinical patient requests. For example, Phelps Memorial Hospital wanted a more efficient and patient-friendly way to deliver its room dining menus. The hospital adopted an interactive patient engagement system and saved 8,700 staff hours alone by simply automating room dining orders.

MAPPING OUT THE PATIENT-CENTERED CARE MODEL

So, how can you champion a patient-centric care model in your hospital?

Sentrics E3’s Patient Engagement Platform4 transforms the traditional hospital room into an engaging, interactive, intelligent environment that empowers patients to play an active role in their stay. As today’s consumer-patients demand better communication and greater involvement in their care plan, interactive patient engagement is a must-have component.

Learn how Sentrics’ E3 platform can help your hospital deliver true patient-centered care.

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