Patient experience matters. In fact, it’s so important it’s considered a marker of quality patient care, and it is used to determine incentives, Value-Based Payment Modifier reimbursements, amount of shared of savings received by accountable care organization participants, and it is a requirement for maintenance of certification. Yet, it is one of the quality measures that physicians and medical facilities reportedly find most difficult to change.

1. Provide information that’s easy to understand. Facilities sometimes provide too many facts at once, leaving patients to ponder on the first sentence while the doctor has moved on. When explaining important information, consider using the most important points and discuss only these. Provide small chunks of information at a speed the patient can process, and check for understanding after each point. Strategies to improve the patient’s recall of instructions include such as providing event-based and location-based instructions. For example: “Take your antibiotics before breakfast and dinner”

2. Show patients you respect their opinions and that you have heard them. A small investment of just 90 seconds is generally enough time for patients to share their perceptions of the illness, their feelings, and expectations. Also, remember that one of the most effective communication tools for caregivers is silence. Waiting for just two more seconds before responding to a patient can elicit additional important information from the patient. Similarly, waiting an additional two seconds after asking the patient a question allows the patient more time to formulate a meaningful response.

3. Create the perception of adequate time. Caregivers face enormous time pressures, and talk time is at a premium. However, omitting pleasantries is a false economy, as a hurried patient may withhold crucial information necessary for clinical care. Therefore, don’t appear rushed. Avoid checking your watch and talking with one hand on the door handle.

4. Involve the patient in the decision-making process. Here are a few proven techniques suggested by "Skills for Communicating with Patients": • Give the patient a choice. • Share your rationale. • Encourage patient contribution.

5. Create high patient satisfaction. Little things can make a big difference. Be sure to: • Provide a good introduction. • Acknowledge a patient’s waiting time. • Use humor. • Avoid blocking behaviors such as offering advice and reassurance before the main problems have been identified.

6. Be empathic. When patients provide clues about how they are feeling, respond with an empathic response.

7. Understand the patient’s experience and perspective. Consider the patient's interests, work, and hobbies, as well as the patient's condition, experiences with it, ideas about it, and feelings toward it. This will show respect, foster an open dialogue, and enable you to devise treatment strategies the patient is more likely to commit to achieving.

Incorporating these simple techniques into your daily interactions with patients will provide them with a better experience, help them achieve better outcomes, and benefit you and the facility at the same time.

 

Care Analytics is a tablet-based software that assesses skilled nursing facilities and provides feedback to make quality improvements for patient satisfaction in real time. To advance the patient experience, providers must understand patient needs and address targeted opportunities within patient populations. Care Analytics provides meaningful and actionable insights into every aspect of patient perception. We work with facilities across the globe to collect feedback through real-time point of care tablet based assessments. We provide straight-forward steps focusing on the key drivers of exceptional patient experiences. Our model is based on the marriage of big data and years of experience with improving patient satisfaction

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