When people hear the term 'patient engagement', they might mistakenly think this refers to just the patient. However, families have a key role to play in every patient’s healthcare. How patient and family engagement benefits your hospital comes in a variety of forms - from increased staff retention to better patient outcomes. Here’s why.
- Overall Improvements in Quality and Safety
- Improved Financial Performance
- Better Patient Outcomes
- Increased Employee Satisfaction and Retention
Overall Improvements in Quality and Safety
Your patients are at the centre of the care you provide and by including their families, you’ll become allies in your efforts to improve quality and safety. Involving patients and families contributes to informed choices, safe medication use, infection control initiatives and practising self-management.
For example, a study by Jessica M Benjamin and colleagues consisted of videotaping family-centred rounds in 150 hospitalised children. The study’s findings suggested that ‘family-initiated communication about medication topics resulted in appropriate changes to the children’s medications that altered treatment and were important for safety, adherence and satisfaction.’
Another study that allowed patients to access clinic notes written by their physician found that most patients ‘found an increased sense of control, greater understanding of their medical issues, improved recall of their plans for care, better preparation for future visits and better medication adherence.’
Not only that, but 20-42% of patients reported sharing these notes with family members. Physicians also commented that sharing the notes strengthened their relationships with some of their patients.
Improved Financial Performance
According to research by the Gallup Management Journal, patient and family engagement consistently influences hospital performance on a variety of important business outcomes. Patient and family centred care has also shown a decrease in litigation and malpractice claims. In turn, this has lowered the costs per case because of fewer complications and shorter lengths of stay for patients.
When patients and families are disengaged, hospitals tend to waste resources because of delays, increased diagnostic tests and a greater need for referrals. However, when patients and families are engaged, hospitals experience improved patient flow and bed capacity while reducing overcrowding.
Better Patient Outcomes
Through improving communication and other practices, positive patient outcomes such as emotional health, symptom resolution, pain control and physiological measures like improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels are experienced. This is because better-informed patients can make more knowledge-based choices when it comes to their healthcare while also understanding the process and what they can do to help their condition.
Shared decision-making leads to choices that better reflect a patient's personal preferences, that in turn result in more favourable health outcomes. This includes being less anxious, a quicker recovery and increased compliance with treatment regimes. In fact, the AQuA programme has shown that in cases where shared decision-making takes place, they saw improvements in health indicators such as better blood glucose in diabetes, reduced patient stay in hospital and fewer patient complaints.
Increased Employee Satisfaction and Retention
Quality communication is essential to patient-provider relationships. Not only is this beneficial to the patient, but it is beneficial to the physician. Studies have shown that a patient's level of engagement has an effect on physicians, revealing that physicians provide more information and engage in more patient-centred communication when interacting with high participation patients in comparison to low participation patients.
Through implementing patient and family engagement strategies, higher levels of patient retention have been obtained. For example, a study at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Michigan showed that by implementing this kind of strategy, there was a decrease in nurse turnover rate - from 21 to 7%.
Patient and family engagement strategies, such as implementing a digital patient engagement platform, empowers hospital visitors as they’re able to find everything they need on their device. It offers integrated services like meal ordering, hospital radio, children’s games, appointment check-in and more.
These kinds of platforms enable visitors to find the information they need by themselves, reducing the need for staff assistance. Not only is this convenient for visitors, but staff spend less time on other important tasks. Ultimately, this improves overall efficiency, productivity and happiness of the healthcare team.
The relationship between patients and physicians has changed dramatically over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic, begging the question of what the patient experience will be like in 2021. We’ve created a download tackling exactly that. Read on to find out more.
What Can We Expect in 2021?
From patient entertainment and video calling to automation for food services and limiting close interactions with staff and patients, technology has played a huge part in ensuring quality services can be maintained in hospitals.
Going forward, it’s clear that technology will continue to have a great impact on the patient experience in 2021, so we’ve created a download filled with predictions for the coming year. We’ve also taken a look at legacy systems that may be outdated and how they do in comparison to technologies like WiFi SPARK.