Best Practices for a great patient experience need a holistic approach towards medical treatment.While the best treatment modalities are being used to remedy medical conditions, it has become equally important to give the patient an experience to remember. In order to ensure optimal care, it is mandatory to humanize the treatment of a patient. A good patient experience is owed to interacting with the patient as a person and not just as a manifestation of a disease. It is essential to be able to empathize and connect with not just the patients themselves, but also the family members, making them an integral part of the health care experience1.

A few satisfying practices to improve your patient’s experience have been listed below:

Location

This refers to the place where the patient needs to go to avail medical facilities like a hospital.

  • It should be in an area that is easy to reach
  • It should be easily accessible by public transport options
  • The location should be safe in terms of patient and staff security
  • It should be located in clean and hygienic surroundings

Waiting area

This refers to the area where the patient waits for his turn or needs to be there to complete certain formalities like registration.

  • It should be attractive, well lit and must have comforting interiors
  • It should be spacious in order to be able to accommodate those accompanying the patient
  • A clean, calm and quiet waiting area comforts the ailing patient
  • A comfortable seating arrangement makes waiting an easier task
  • A waiting area having educative posters, displays and newsletters can prove to be entertaining and informative while the patient awaits his turn
  • It should include distractions appropriate for different ages for example toys or a small play area for kids or magazines to read for adults

Consulting rooms

This refers to the area of actual interaction and the time spent in consultation with the physician.

  • The room should have ample space to accommodate the family members or attendants accompanying the patient
  • The room should be well lit with adequate furniture to facilitate a satisfactory patient clinician communication
  • Posters enable easy communication of information
  • The room should be cozy to make the patient feel physically and mentally comfortable

Procedure room

This refers to the area where the patient undergoes a procedure (major or minor diagnostic/therapeutic procedures).

  • It should be maintained at an appropriate temperature to make the patient comfortable
  • A minor procedure room should have access to daylight
  • The room should be clean and aesthetically comforting
  • Privacy of the patient should be given utmost importance
  • A good amount of space provides room for a family member of the patient who might need to accompany the patient

Care providers

This refers to the entire staff, medical and non- medical including staff at the cash counter and in the pharmacy.

  • Constructing computer workstations makes tasks easier and faster for the staff as well as the patient
  • It is wise to consider ergonomics to ensure that an efficient work pattern is followed to minimize chaos while dispensing medicines
  • The nursing staff should be encouraged to attend to the patient’s needs in the moment
  • Patient’s rest and routine, especially in the inpatient department, should be given top priority and any disruptions to the same must be minimized2
  • Patients as well as their family members must be allowed to get involved actively in the treatment plans and care processes
  • A patient and his family are put at ease when clinical and medical information is explained to them in common language using friendly terms. This absolutely must be attended to either by a doctor or adequately trained assistant

Technical issues

This refers to use of modern day technology to be able to use a humane approach to patient care.

  • Sign in kiosks operated by automatic electronic machines can be used to hasten registration procedures
  • Use of computers in the waiting area for internet browsing can be entertaining and help allay patient anxiety
  • Use of electronic medical records has now become common practice and should be employed in order to provide easy and efficient medical care

Contributed Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD

References:

1) http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/HospitalQualityInits/HospitalHCAHPS.html

2) http://www.advisory.com/research/nursing-executive-center/studies/2012/enhancing-the-patient-experience