When hospitals update their procedures, they focus first on securing state-of-the-art medical technology and the latest treatments that provide the best outlook for their patients. While the quality of healthcare achieved with these measures is important, another essential part of hospital care is patient engagement.
New technology allows hospitals to interact with patients in a multitude of ways. Today, from before they even set foot inside the hospital to after they’ve gone, patient to staff engagement increases every step of the way.
The days of moving people in and out of the hospital at a brisk pace are gone in favor of creating a comprehensive experience that involves providing educational materials, confirming appointments across multiple platforms and allowing patients to participate in their care in new ways. This makes it easy for patients to stay connected with the hospital staff for as long as they need, and helps them stay informed throughout the whole process.
Multi-platform communications that include mobile technology are a growing trend, particularly for younger patients and the parents of children. This provides the ability to deliver information in a streamlined way to patients via methods convenient for them (along with saving a few trees in the process).
Incorporating mobile updates also has the benefit of providing new ways to return to old information, such as recorded discharge instructions that patients can return to and hear exactly what the medical professionals recommended word for word.
Enhanced Care through Applications
Enhanced patient care also applies to the procedures performed within the hospitals. New applications allow for constantly updated online medical records that can offer more thorough views of the needs of the patient. Patient-specific information and requirements were previously prone to getting lost in the shuffle when care was transferred from one person to another, but modern applications help prevent these losses by creating documents that can be updated by all staff members.
This can work wonders for medication adherence. By combining these services with applications tied to pharmacies and medication tracking software, hospitals can get a complete view of which prescriptions were filled and how often the patient is taking their medicine. This is a game-changer for hospitals, as poor medication adherence is a common occurrence and one that causes significant redundancy within hospital operations.
While these new technologies offer big advantages in hospital administration, they aren’t without their drawbacks. Adding new procedures can complicate an already complex system by promoting multiple means of communication with patients and within the practice. Hospitals may wish to move toward electronic means of servicing patients, but remain firmly rooted in the traditional processes of paper charts and educational handouts. Medical practices are notoriously slow to change, which creates confusion for patients told to utilize both old and new forms of communication.
Despite the burden that new procedures place on hospital infrastructure, the importance of utilizing the technological advantage to boost patient interaction shouldn’t be overlooked. By using applications that can provide a complete view of the patient experience, hospitals can manage the care of their clients more effectively than ever before. The patients will appreciate this, as they’ll be able to be kept in the loop throughout the whole process and have more confidence that their care is being managed effectively.
Written by Dean Van Dyke, Vice President, Business Process Optimization
Dean Van Dyke is the Vice President of Business Process Optimization for iBridge. He brings more than 18 years of customer relations, business process outsourcing, lean six sigma, program/project management, records management, manufacturing, and vendor management experience to iBridge. Mr. Van Dyke was the former head of Microsoft’s corporate records and information management team, and served honorably for over fourteen years in the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota and his Master’s in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University.