Hospitals are now concentrating on improving patient experience. Here are some of the impactful improvements they’ve made throughout the years.
The healthcare system in the United States is one of the best in the world. It’s also one of the most significant industries in the country. It’s estimated that the healthcare sector alone is estimated to be worth one trillion in 2021, a 6% growth from the previous year. The industry is also benefiting from this huge market value, with each subsector earning a median income of $72 billion in recent years. This huge growth is attributed to the many improvements happening in the industry. One of them is the positive improvements in how patients are cared for in hospitals.
We’ve come a long way from improving hospital hygiene and sterilizing surgical tools. Both of these improvements happened a couple of hundred years ago, and both have been paramount to patient survival. Nowadays, we’ve moved on from just improving the survival rate of patients to improving their comfort in hospitals. It has been found that a positive experience in hospitals is as important as hospital hygiene. A happy and comfortable patient usually has better health outcomes than those who are unsatisfied with their experience. But what are these current improvements in healthcare that are improving patient experience in hospitals?
Minimizing Wait Times
We all know of the overwhelming numbers of patients that flooded hospitals last year due to the pandemic. Hospitals were actually equipped to manage these many people. However, the problem was that the implementation of it came too late.
Minimizing wait times or minimizing physical queues in various aspects of the hospitalization process (e.g., medical treatments, billing, and assessment) had been a goal for many hospitals for quite some time. These hospitals certainly don’t want people waiting in long lines, which happened way too often in hospitals. They were able to address this by utilizing online sources, such as chatbots, to address initial testing, schedule appointments, and report any medical emergencies. This has seen some varying levels of success, but it wasn’t perfect.
Nowadays, chatbots are fairly common in independent clinics and have decreased wait times for patients. However, the reality is that nobody would be waiting if they had an appointment with the clinic beforehand. This setup would streamline the entire process and improve the patient’s overall experience and recovery.
Diagnosis and Assessment
Artificial intelligence has also played a big role in the assessment, and it has helped medical professionals make better-informed decisions about their patient’s status. Aside from interpreting tests faster than any human being, AI can now make secondary diagnoses or referential diagnoses that they might have missed. Doctors usually double-check with their AI partners regarding their diagnosis to ensure that they have not misdiagnosed the patient. This is a problem that is quite common, and it’s estimated that 12 million Americans experience it annually. Fortunately, that number is slowly decreasing due to these improvements.
Aside from giving more accurate diagnoses and assessments to patients, AI can also give possible treatments to handle a particular illness or disease effectively. It has also further improved patient experience by expediting the diagnostic process. Patients no longer have to wait for days before they receive their test results. Instead, some of these results can be given by the hour.
Engaging with Patients
Patients should play an active role in their treatment. They should be given the necessary knowledge in real-time to make informed decisions about what they can do in their current situation. This is why more hospitals are installing patient engagement systems in their facilities. One of these systems comes in the form of telehealth. It’s hard to engage with patients if they are far away, and one way to solve this problem is by having better telehealth in a facility. Improvements in this side of patient engagement have seen success on both sides. Patients no longer have to leave their homes to get healthcare, while doctors can enjoy a smooth communication process unaffected by lag or other external causes. Additionally, these systems also manage follow-ups and consent forms, which means that there is now more time for medical professionals to meet other patients.
A Holistic Approach
The general approach in treating patients have changed. Before, medical treatments only dealt with the physical problems of the disease. Now, you’re going to see different medical professionals visiting you, some of which can be found in the field of psychology and psychiatry. There are also improvements in rooms where patients are admitted. Hospitals now believe that by addressing all problems and concerns that patients have, they can expedite the recovery process, which is beneficial for both the patients and the hospital.
These improvements are essential in improving patient healthcare, and they can truly be seen in many medical facilities nowadays. However, these improvements don’t mean that it has helped address the increasing backlog of clinics and hospitals. Although the improvements partially addressed this problem, experts believe that it can only be addressed fully by solving the shortages of medical professionals in the nation.