Patients today have more choices and are more informed about what they want in terms of care, they expect you to meet them on their terms, not yours. However, many health facilities are still compounded by painful interactions and avoidable uncertainties. These are augmented by cumbersome legacy systems, increasing demands and lack of a firm grasp on the patient journey by providers.
Understanding the patient journey enables providers to redesign their resourcing and approach to care by developing an empathetic perspective of the patient’s experience. Not only is it key to improving patient care, but it is also an effective way of empowering staff to discover opportunities for improvement and innovation.
What Makes Up a Patient’s Journey?
A patient’s journey encompasses the complete spectrum of interactions or touchpoints a patient has with a particular health system, provider, or facility. These touchpoints can be either virtual or in-person and are often routine or high-stake. It is an ongoing process that involves all parts of the healthcare ecosystem, from specialty care to physicians, outpatient therapy and hospitals. It is essential to understand that all these individual touchpoints. When combined, regardless of their size—make up the patient journey and they include;
The patients experience before they even step foot in your facility can provide them with a sense of comfort or apprehension. If their experience is frustrating or unclear during the pre-visit stage, it will set the tone for the rest of their interactions and expectations while they are receiving care.
Patients and visitors who experience unexpected delays, often experience additional anxiety and negative impressions about their visit. To mitigate this, facilities should ensure that visitors don’t incur extra delays when navigating their premises.
The post-visit experience plays a pivotal role in cementing a positive experience or countering a negative one. Measures such as post-appointment follow-up will go a long way in improving treatment plan adherence.
Why patient Journeys are important
1. Improved employee satisfaction
Improving the patient journey benefits the staff just as much as it does the patients. A competent patient journey minimizes paperwork, gets rid of redundant processes and eases pressure on your workforce, consequently increasing satisfaction and enabling a pleasant work environment. It also enables automation which helps staff to anticipate and proactively solve problems.
2. Improved communication between patients and providers
Exchanging patient information and coordinating care can be a challenge for providers and frustrating for patients. This mismatch may result from organizational silos, incompatible technological systems, or a variety of other issues. Stress and anxiety can be reduced by trying to close the relevant organizational or technology gap.
Negative patient interactions can often be blamed on poor or inconsistent communication. When a patient has an expectation that goes unmet, it creates a negative outcome. By being able to identify when these are most likely to occur, practices can work more efficiently.
3. Develop seamless and timely patient and family updates
Families with loved ones in surgery or who are trying to get care often experience a great deal of stress. Making them wait for long periods for infrequent and vague queuing updates only adds to their woes. However, with a digital queue management system in place, patients and their family can obtain real-time and precise information, such as wait times, counter availability, and more through strategically placed displays.
4. Clear routes and directions across medical facilities
Hospitals can be complicated to navigate—whether it’s finding the right entrance, finding specialists, or making your way to the cafeteria. By understanding the patient journey, facility managers can harness data and feedback to improve signage, make visible pathways, and use landmarks to help orient users and help patients and families access the resources they need.
5. Deliver insightful and timely visitor information
It is essential that important health and wellbeing initiatives, such as getting vaccines and booking in for a screening with a doctor, are given due attention. Location-based messaging via digital signage in healthcare venues can help to educate the public on the importance of taking steps to improve wellbeing.
6. Reduce pain points
There will always exist gaps in the patient journey that stand out negatively in their mind. Healthcare providers must understand these pain points as early as possible and identify opportunities for improvement. Health facilities can leverage feedback and customer experience portals to listen to their patients and act on pain points. By effectively mapping the patient journey, providers can take a proactive approach to a positive patient experience. It also illuminates opportunities to educate and inform patients on critical matters.
7.Keep patients safe
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a patient flow management system that is both safe and effective. Healthcare facilities must adapt and be flexible to provide services while keeping everyone safe from communicable diseases. By using a virtual queuing system, patients can wait anywhere in the facility as they wait to be served. Contact between patients is much limited because they are not really waiting in line to be serviced.
Regularly reviewing your patients’ experience and investing in new technology can result in the continuous development of your procedures, clinical treatments, and other areas. This is where Q-SYS comes in; Our patient journey solutions such as Q-SYS CX portal gives medical facilities of any size the ability to optimize every facet of their patients’ journeys, resulting in a positive patient experience and enhancing operational effectiveness. Get in touch today and let us revolutionize your patients’ journey together.