Patients need to be more than a number on a chart. Healthcare facilities can see the bigger picture by focusing on improving patient outcomes and build stronger patient-provider relationships. Improving health outcomes often has implications beyond the single patient, which can mean a better relationship with the community and a bigger bottom line.
Why We Need Improvement
Leaders in the healthcare industry must strive to improve patient outcomes, whether they are operating in a value-based care environment or fee-for-performance. More than ever, patients are better informed and pursue treatments with medical groups, health systems, and digital health vendors with a reputation for stellar care. Delivering the best possible outcomes for a patient should be the main focus of any healthcare system or medical group. Take a look at these seven methods to improve patient outcomes.
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7 Methods To Improve Patient Outcomes
Improving patient outcomes often requires a whole system or group approach to quality of care. Consider these seven methods that can improve your patient outcomes.
#1 - Better Patient Intake
Every successful treatment plan must first start with the proper diagnosis. When the patient visits a medical provider the first few minutes of their interaction can influence the costs and success of the treatment plan. With a quick and reliable triage process, patients and providers can both be better prepared for a seamless and productive consultation. Health systems must focus on eliminating cognitive and diagnostic errors, that may prevent patients from receiving the correct care.
#2 - Remember Your Clinicians
The working conditions and atmosphere within any medical group or health system significantly impact patient outcomes. Investing in staff development, quality management, and good relations with physicians leads to a better quality of care for everyone, including patients. One survey suggests a correlation between patient outcomes and healthcare environments. When healthcare professionals have greater autonomy, it can trickle down to providing the patient with a higher quality of care.
#3 - Reduce Medical Errors
Medical errors are still a leading cause of death in the United States. Diagnostic mistakes, infections, and medical errors are some of the top problems that can jeopardize the safety of patients and lead to poor outcomes. Healthcare systems, digital vendors, and medical groups must reduce the rate of these costly errors. Following safety procedures, enhancing health records compatibility, and coordinating efforts among the medical staff can go a long way to reduce or possibly prevent any medical errors in the facility.
#4 - Improve Transparency
Healthcare transparency occurs when information on the health system’s quality, efficiency, and consumer experience with care are readily available to the public. This information also includes price and quality metrics that many patients can use to receive higher quality care at the lowest cost. Healthcare transparency can also improve safety, efficiency, and quality through clinical benchmark competition.
#5 - Implement Sound Treatment Planning
Treatment decisions follow diagnostic procedures. With most diagnoses, there may be multiple treatment options. Choosing the right one can significantly impact the patient's outcome. By using evidence-based practices, medical groups can encourage their practitioners to use treatment strategies that yield better results. Diagnostic imaging, laboratory equipment, and powerful monitors all provide real-time assessment of these treatment plans. With clinical monitoring, patients will have better outcomes than relying on the past "wait and see" approach.
#6 - Know the Benefits of Connected Care
Connecting patients and healthcare providers creates an avenue for improved quality care. Recently, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) started using mobile devices like tablets and smartphone apps to connect patients and doctors. As the most extensive integrative healthcare system in the United States, connecting those patients with doctors and staff was no easy task but a move in the right direction. Many have noted that this event could signify that visit-based care is slowly fading away in favor of connected care.
#7 - Continuous Care After Discharge
Healthcare should not stop as soon as the patient leaves the facility. For many healthcare groups and systems, the discharge process has ample room for improvement. Many patients never receive written information about health warnings or symptoms of a particular diagnosis. Also, care teams do not always have those vital conversations about the need for follow-up appointments, leading to a decline in outcome for the patient. Make patients active in the treatment process by providing clear communication for their discharge instructions.
Quality of Care
Access to care and providing a good experience all affect patient outcomes. Healthcare systems and medical groups must:
- Prioritize making access to care simple for current and prospective patients
- Focus on the safety of patients
- Reduce readmission by following best practices
- Achieve desired results with effective treatment options
- Provide a consistent level of care regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or geological location
One of the critical components of patient outcomes is patient satisfaction. When anyone discusses their satisfaction with friends and family or shares those feelings online, it can affect the medical group or health system's reputation. In most cases, a patient's satisfaction levels are impacting by their initial interaction with a healthcare system, such as appointment scheduling and the attitude of the medical staff.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Technology can assist in improving patient outcomes. EHRs collect and store patient information, making it a modern version of a paper chart. These tools help healthcare professionals make those vital decisions about the patient's care and create an automatic workflow for any treatments.
Provide Improved Outcomes for Your Patients
By providing better outcomes for your patients, you can boost your reputation with the individuals and the entire community. Gaining trust with current and potential patients remains a must in the competitive healthcare industry. Focusing on the methods shared will help improve certain areas in the system, all of which lead to happier medical staff and satisfied patients.
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