Improving Patient Experiences Means Empowering Patients

A patient's experience with a hospital goes beyond purely the quality of medical treatment. It encompasses the entire continuum of care, which includes appointment scheduling, time spent waiting, filling prescriptions and friendly hospital staff.

Unfortunately, hurry up and wait is too often the prescription most patients get when visiting a hospital or clinic. Undoubtedly, making them feel much worse than when they arrived.

According to Forbes Magazine, patients are waiting an average of 24 days to schedule an appointment with a doctor. While other research indicates, patients can expect to spend 45 minutes waiting for a physician, or 24 minutes waiting for care in the emergency room.

As patient wait times go up, patient satisfaction drops and dissatisfied patients mean lower CAHPS scores. Low patient satisfaction scores usually result in lower reimbursement payments from CMS, lower patient retention rates, and despondent hospital staff. Factors that have a detrimental effect on any healthcare organization, unless resolved.

However wait times alone, are not the problem. In fact, communication and interaction lie at the heart of an excellent patient experience. Patients are also consumers and have become accustomed to using technology to manage their lives. But there is a big technological gap between how patients interact with their healthcare providers, and how they handle the rest of their lives.

Improving patient experiences necessitates empowering patients to control their healthcare experience. Giving them the ability to access information about average wait times; reschedule appointments due to delays; join virtual queues, all using familiar technologies such as the internet and their mobile devices.

Patient Experience Management (PXM) solutions put the focus on the patient; enabling healthcare providers to combine existing health systems with non-proprietary customer flow solutions to deliver a familiar experience that empowers patients. Giving them access to estimated wait times, the ability to reschedule appointments and provide real-time feedback on their experience.

Consider how elements of PXM might contribute to creating a better patient experience in your healthcare facility:

  • Appointment Scheduling - Allow patients to schedule and manage appointments using mobile devices and the internet. Approaches they have become familiar with in other parts of their lives, such as booking a flight or taking a holiday.

  • Virtual Queuing - Allow patients to check-in and join queues while on route to their appointments. Deliver regular updates on expected wait times at your facility. Provide staff with essential data about anticipated patient volumes.

  • Patient Kiosks - Integrate with customer record software for pre-registration and appointment qualification to add convenience to patients and eliminate unnecessary tasks for employees.

  • Digital Displays - reduce uncertainty by communicating estimated wait times, appointment numbers, and relevant information, as well as keeping patients entertained while they wait.  

  • Digital Wayfinding - to help patients navigate from home to the hospital or clinic entrance nearest their treatment rooms, and helps them navigate increasingly complex hospital complexes.

  • Patient Feedback - to let patients tell you what's working and what's not working. Collecting information directly on site or remotely via the web and mobile apps.

More than ever, healthcare providers must offer patients the level of experience they have become accustomed to in other parts of their lives. ACF's advanced customer flow management and PXM solutions integrate with existing healthcare systems to deliver a superior patient experience, showing patients that they are the priority and helping hospital staff put more energy into providing quality care.

Schedule a demo and start improving your patient experiences now!