Patient satisfaction is an important priority for physicians. The success of patient management depends not only on the physician’s diligence, but also on the patient’s cooperation. It is also governed by external factors such as disease statistics, type of illness, the population in a given area and disease prevalence etc.

Simply put, care management can be defined as an evidence based approach towards integrated clinical care that is patient-centric and ensures that every patient has a coordinated plan of care and services.

Here are some practices physicians can adopt for better patient management:

1. Patient Education

This is of prime importance, as it will help in prevention of both communicable and non communicable illnesses.

Patients with non infective pathology

Patients should be educated about their disease, risk factors, factors causing exacerbation of the disease condition and how to prevent disease recurrence.

For e.g.-Patient with cervical spondylitis can be educated about neck exercises, avoidance of holding neck in one posture for a long time.

Patients suffering from infectious diseases

The patient’s family as well as society are at risk when it comes to dealing with communicable diseases. So it’s important to educate patients on how to manage their health, and practices to prevent further spread of the disease.

For e.g.-TB is one of the major health concerns for people residing in developing countries. Patients with TB need to be educated to prevent further spread.  This includes avoidance of going in crowded places, covering of mouth while coughing, taking proper medications etc.

Importance of care and Hygiene

Diseases like malaria are more prevalent in marshy areas and water logged premises. Patients can be educated to stay away or prevent water logging to prevent malaria-like vector borne illnesses.

Auxiliary Management

Patient need to be stressed the importance of regular exercises, yoga, breathing exercises to reduce mental stress and for illness like cardiovascular illness, diabetes etc.

2. Patient Experience

Patients should be given appointments so that their waiting period in a physician’s clinic can be reduced to a minimum. Medical records should be diligently managed either manually or via electronic media so that patient care, continuity of care, risk factors, chronological improvement, investigation reports referrals and causation for referrals are all available which further ensure effective patient management.

In private clinics, the physician could chart out a individual patient care schedule. This involves health assessment, periodic reviews, arranging follow-ups, encouraging patient co-operation and ensures success of healthcare.

In case of emergencies, prompt medical resuscitation measures as well as timely referral to intensive care unit proves to be life saving for patients.

In case of planned hospitalisations for surgeries, patients must be well informed about pre-operative care and medications. Before a surgery, the patient and relatives have to be made aware of the possible risks of the surgery. After the surgery, operative notes have to be made meticulously and case records stored diligently. Post-discharge, regular follow-up should be encouraged and patients should be given plan of post surgical care and treatment.

3. Mental and Behavioural Health Care

Behavioural issues such as substance abuse, alcohol addiction, suicidal tendencies, violence etc. need to be handled though integrated behavioural therapies to serve the patient and the community at large. This includes managing patients with mental disorders. A mentally ill patient is a cause of concern not only for his own safety, but also his family and the society. Various cognitive therapies, meditation, yoga, counselling should be provided to the patients to help them manage the illness. Based on the severity of their symptoms, referring them to a psychiatrist or psychologist  is also prudent.

4. Immunization

These are the most effective ways of preventing illnesses and ensuring protection of population at large. Children with malnourishment have a greater risk of mortality post infections. Immunisation prevents occurrence of disease and saves lives. Vaccines like the polio vaccine prevent deformity and ensure a good life quality.

5. Rehabilitation

This involves giving facilities and services to disabled and differently abled people to live a life of quality and dignity. Installing ramps in your practice to provide access to wheelchairs is one example. In India, The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) was set up as a registered society in 1986, to ensure rights and protect interests of the disabled.

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– Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD