The best way to get patients back in the door is to send happy patients out the door. Improving the patient education experience is key.
COVID-19 has severely impacted the financials for many hospitals across the country. The public’s fear of catching the virus combined with the temporary cessation of non-essential treatment have led to “idle clinics, vacant operating rooms and a dearth of patients,” as well as $60 billion in losses each month.
Going forward, patients will remain reluctant to return to hospitals until their concerns about safety are addressed. That’s why it’s more important than ever to focus on stellar patient satisfaction scores and word of mouth referrals to build patient volume. The business value of a satisfied customer is well documented. Says the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, “A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience.”
So, how can you get patients back in the door?
You first need to get patients out the door who are satisfied with their care. And a tech-enabled, patient education and communication strategy is an important way you can deliver services that go above and beyond, offering your hospital a competitive advantage.
The Traditional Method of Patient Education Will No Longer Suffice
Nurses are traditionally tasked with verbal bedside patient education. But COVID-19 has made their job more difficult, due to:
- The shortage in many regions of personal protective equipment (PPE), without which the nurse can’t enter many patient rooms.
- Nurse understaffing limiting their time.
- Hospitals’ desire to reduce staff exposure to sick patients.
Even if nurses have the time to thoroughly cover all of the material, patients often get overwhelmed by the deluge of information. Per the Royal Society of Medicine, “40-80% of medical information provided by healthcare practitioners is forgotten immediately… Furthermore almost half of the information that is remembered is incorrect.”
To fully absorb all of the relevant details, patients need transparent, on-demand health information that is understandable and engaging.
This is where tech-enabled patient education comes in.
How Hospitals Can Implement a Tech-Enabled Strategy and Improve Patient Education
As the country opens up and more patients begin to trickle in, those early adopters—the first people willing to visit the hospital—present a unique opportunity. If you meet their needs and build a satisfactory hospital experience, you can cause a positive domino effect of word of mouth referrals within their personal network.
Implementing a tech-enabled strategy is one of the best ways to make your organization stand out. What does that look like?
Digital Signage in Waiting Rooms
Digital signage helps you display critical health information in common areas, increasing safety and precautionary awareness for patients and visitors alike. It can be used for:
- Population health and safety tips
- Community outreach and messages
- Directories and wayfinding
By providing this crucial information, you support patients, enhance visitor experience, and reinforce a positive message that your hospital is not a dangerous place to be.
Educational Videos during the Onboarding Process
When patients are first admitted into the hospital, they likely have dozens of questions and concerns. Nurses, already stretched thin, may not have the time to adequately address them all. However, the educational gaps can be filled by automated educational videos such as:
- Welcoming orientation
- Fall prevention
- Handwashing hygiene
- Advance directives
This gives patients useful, actionable information that doesn’t overwhelm and can be reviewed at a later time, directly from the interactive platform on their patient room TV. More knowledge leads to stronger dialogue between patient and staff, which leads to better health outcomes.
Ongoing Health Education Videos
Your patients require a steady stream of educational information that’s tailored to their diagnosis and care plan. Digital health education videos help ensure that patients are:
- Informed about their treatment
- Aware of best practices for maintaining care post discharge
Focusing on patient education is one of the primary ways you can reduce your readmission rates. According to Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, “Interventions to improve self-care have shown improvements in self-efficacy, patient satisfaction, coping skills, and perceptions of social support.” Inevitably, this leads to better health maintenance after patients return home.
Additionally, through the integration with the EMR, nurses have increased visibility over patient education. They’re able to see whether a video has or hasn’t been watched. If it hasn’t, while rounding, they can encourage the patient to watch. If it has, they can engage in a conversation about what the video covered and how to apply it. This was used successfully at Torrance Memorial Hospital, where they saw a 600% increase in patients watching the diabetes educational videos.
In-room digital whiteboards, integrated into the patient TV interactive platform, offer more transparent access to patients’ health data and enhance communication between staff, patients and loved ones. This has a dramatic impact on patient safety and quality of care, by providing continually updated information, including:
- Who to contact
- The care team
- Lab results
- The care plan: what is scheduled for the day
- Pain scale
- Important notices
The display screen includes the MyHealthPlan which condenses and conveys vital information to patients and cuts down on lost time for nurses.
Patient Feedback and Communication
Don’t wait until after the patient has returned home and completed an HCAHPS survey to get their feedback about their stay. At that point, your opportunity to address and resolve any patient issues is long gone. Instead, give them a means to offer immediate and ongoing responses to care. Frequent, interactive surveys delivered over the TV’s interactive patient engagement platform empower hospitals to identify and resolve patient concerns before escalating into a larger issue.
By opening up the lines of communication and encouraging patients to give their honest input, you can highlight areas of weakness in your service or staff. By resolving the problem quickly, the hospital demonstrates that it values patient input and strives for the best healthcare outcomes.
At Phelps Memorial Hospital, this is exactly what happened. After implementing Allen’s interactive patient feedback, they saw a 12% jump in HCAHPS and 470% increase in total patient feedback.
The Benefit of a Tech-Enabled Educational Strategy
Education and communication are the key drivers of patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes. A tech-enabled strategy can help your organization empower patients to take a proactive role in their care.
Studies have shown that educational technology adoption can benefit your hospital in several ways, including:
- Increased HCAHPS scores
- Better health outcomes
- Improved staff efficiency and satisfaction
- Improved care delivery thanks to real-time feedback
- Increased referrals
Allen E3 was built to support both your staff and patients. The powerful platform streamlines patient education and engagement, ensuring that patients have all the necessary health and treatment information available to them.
When you partner with Allen, you’ll witness firsthand how patient education drives satisfaction.
Ready to see for yourself? Contact us.
New York Times. Hospitals Struggle to Restart Lucrative Elective Care After Coronavirus Shutdowns. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/09/health/hospitals-coronavirus-reopening.html
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Patients’ Memory for Medical Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC539473/#!po=10.0000
Saddle Ranch Digital. Digital Signage In Healthcare. https://www.digitalsignagefederation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SRDPaper_Digital-Signage-in-Healthcare.pdf
Baylor University Medical Center. Improving health outcomes through patient education and partnerships with patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5242136/
American Health Information Management Association. Strategies to Reduce Hospital Readmission Rates in a Non-Medicaid-Expansion State. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6669363/
Dove Press. Improving health outcomes with better patient understanding and education. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270921/
Nursing Times. Electronic whiteboards will ‘improve safety’, says nurse. https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/hospital/electronic-whiteboards-will-improve-safety-says-nurse-10-11-2017/
Allen. The Power of Digital Whiteboards. https://www.engagewithallen.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Power-of-Digital-Whiteboards-rev.pdf
Allen. Interactive Patient Feedback is Helping Phelps Hospital Set the Bar for Patient, Employee Satisfaction. https://www.engagewithallen.com/wp-content/uploads/Phelps-Case-Study-FINAL-8-2015.pdf
Health IT Outcomes. 5 Ways Technology Boosts HCAHPS Scores. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270921/