Personalised care and digitisation are some of the major changes to the NHS that will take place over the next five years, as set out in the published NHS Long Term Plan. It represents the new relationship between people, professionals and the health and care system.
It’s crucial to move with technological innovations that can help personalise the patient experience and support these frameworks to make digital patient-centric approaches ‘business as usual’. Better use of data has the power to transform the quality of health and care services while reducing costs. So how can we personalise a safe and positive experience for patients in hospital?
- Improve Communication by Keeping It Clear and Simple
- Promote Independence and Self-Service
- Request Surveys and Implement Feedback
- Keeping Patients Entertained and Connected With Their Families
Improve Communication by Keeping It Clear and Simple
Complicated medical jargon can isolate patients further, so language should be accessible for all. There must be processes to help staff communicate with patients in a way that’s comfortable and easy to understand. When patients receive a blanketed approach, communication during their care can be lost on the way.
You can personalise your patient’s experience by simply giving them the means to communicate however they like. This includes having the digital services, platforms, infrastructure and standards in place that will be ready for the significant increase in people who will need personalised care over the next 10 years.
Technology can help contribute to patient-centred care in many ways and there’s evidence people will use it given the opportunity. When used properly, technology can improve communication between patients and doctors, reduce medication errors and most importantly, facilitate more informed patient-centred care.
The Future of Healthcare: Our Vision for Digital, Data and Technology in Health and Care recognises “the potential of cutting-edge technologies to support preventative, predictive and personalised care is huge”. Bedfordshire Hospital and Dorset County Hospital are some of the Trusts championing personalised experiences facilitated by technology - with many others leading the way.
Does your system support live transcribe services? They’re valuable for presenting information in different ways that might better resonate with patients who have difficulty hearing. It’s just one small way we can squash the glaring inequalities in healthcare, but it’s a huge step in the direction of accessibility and personalisation.
Promote Independence and Self-Service
NHSX’s Chief Digital Officer, Tara Donnelly, recently stressed the opportunity for digital tools and personalised care to collectively improve the healthcare experience and patient outcomes. Personalised care means people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered - promoting independence and self-service is just the start.
Market-leading systems for hospitals allow patients to take control of their own healthcare. Rather than relying on staff to provide leaflets, patients will have everything they need on their screens in front of them. This is especially important when trying to reduce the spread of infection during a pandemic.
Diagnosis information, educational videos and information about the treatment or medication they’re going to need can all be accessed. Best of all, this information can all be navigated on the patient’s own device. This means they’re familiar with the device and won’t need to get over the initial hurdle of understanding it.
By the end of 2020, there will be a significant increase in the percentage of over-65s who have smartphones and access to broadband. This means the assumed barrier of elderly patients getting to grips with technology is simply lowering year on year.
The UK healthcare sector produces a staggering 121,000 tonnes of food waste each year. Another way to promote independence is by investing in a meal ordering feature. It allows patients to order from an electronic menu which clearly states the ingredients so people can choose according to their dietary requirements.
The system can also link to individual patients, so if they need to be relocated from the ward, their food can be redirected to them or subsequently cancelled. Not only does this allow patients to self-serve, but it also reduces costs too.
When patients have the capacity to obtain, process and understand information about their health on their own terms, it empowers them. It makes patients happier and their newfound independence also frees up the nurses and doctor's time so that they can focus care elsewhere.
Request Surveys and Implement Feedback
As healthcare becomes increasingly value-based and patient-centric, healthcare providers need to give increased priority to gathering data about the quality of care received by patients. A positive patient experience is an important goal in its own right. The best way to assess whether you’re providing a safe and positive experience for patients is by asking them.
Measuring patient experience, along with other metrics such as effectiveness and safety of care, can provide you with valuable data for future decision-making. Feedback is one of the most efficient ways the NHS can positively improve its services. But obtaining that valuable feedback isn’t so easy. Many patients don’t complete these long-winded surveys, either because they forget or it’s requested at an inappropriate time.
Patient entertainment systems step up to the plate here, they inherently attract engagement. These systems offer integrated opportunities for feedback (such as the Friends and Family test). As they’re easily displayed on the screen of the patient’s device, it can be accessed at a time they’re most comfortable with. This increases the chances of a patient taking part in the survey and offering that insight you need to provide safer and better experiences.
Keeping Patients Entertained and Connected With Their Families
A study found that 70% of patients don’t have enough to do when they’re in the hospital. Bored patients are more likely to be unhappy and distract hospital staff with ad-hoc tasks. Advancements in technology have resulted in better entertainment systems that keep patients happy and allow staff to be productive.
Patient happiness is proven to speed up the recovery process, so by having advanced education systems fitted in hospitals, you’re bound to have happier patients which will make for shorter patient stays.
Allowing entertainment content via patient engagement services will dramatically improve patients' comfort and happiness and aid towards a faster recovery. These systems have been pretty basic in the past, offering limited access to television channels and forcing patients to pay for the privilege.
Given the financial stakes and the impact on the quality of care, improving patient experience should be a central part of any healthcare system’s long-term strategic plan. When done correctly, improving patient experiences will also correlate with providing patients with better outcomes.
Later this financial year, the National Information Board (NIB) will publish a set of ‘roadmaps’ laying out in greater detail who will do what to transform digital care. It’s clear that unless we reshape care delivery, harness technology and drive down variations in quality and safety of care, patients’ changing needs will go unmet.
It’s notoriously difficult to keep in touch with friends and family when in hospital, poor signal and unreliable WiFi connection causes frustration at an already challenging time. Here at WiFi SPARK, the leading provider of guest and patient-access WiFi in the UK, we’re committed to providing a safe and positive experience with the use of technology, reliable WiFi and our personalised solutions.
SPARK® Media: Unite facilitates patients to see loved ones over the internet using apps like Skype, Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts. The solution can also allow access to games and entertainment features to keep the patients feeling positive.
This is just one of our many personalised patient-centred care solutions. We’ll continue to work with other leading providers and specialists to ensure our platforms are tailored to you and your patient’s needs. To see how your Trust can benefit from a personalised solution, you need to find a system that’s right for you. That’s where our quiz can help.
Find the Personalised, Safe and Positive Care Solution for You
If you’re interested in finding out how patient entertainment systems have evolved and what modern platforms can do for the NHS, then click to start our quiz below. It takes into consideration your CQUIN target focus, budget and requirements and matches you with a solution that can revolutionise your patient-care.