With increasing awareness about well-being issues, people are more careful and selective. They do not trust just anyone with a healthcare degree. They can pay extra but not risk their well-being to inexperienced workers or barely functioning public hospitals. That is why private healthcare facilities have more inflow even when they offer costly caregiving services.
However, hospitals and healthcare workers still have a long way to go to address negligence, treatment errors, hospital-acquired illnesses, readmission, adverse side effects of medications, treatment costs, and overall healthcare burden. Since all these factors contribute to care quality, healthcare workers, administrators, and policymakers must make holistic policies and frameworks.
With that said, let’s explore some effective ways to improve care quality and ensure patient satisfaction.
Educate Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers may possess specialized knowledge, but it is not enough to understand and address diverse issues in a healthcare setting. With poor interpersonal communication, management, punctuality, organization, or critical thinking skills, they cannot solve complex problems. Hence, hospital owners and relevant stakeholders in public and private healthcare facilities must focus on training workers and improving their knowledge. It is not difficult to refresh their knowledge and refine their technical skills.
With a range of online continuing education options, they can perform their duties and further education without clashes. Online courses, certifications, diplomas, and other higher education programs also offer part-time, full-time, and self-paced study alternatives to accommodate busy workers.
So, for instance those healthcare workers in the hospital admin department, seeking to move ahead in their career can opt to enroll in a master of science in health administration online.
- Besides, hospitals can arrange short-term training sessions or seminars to refresh a specific skill.
- If they do not have enough time for self-study, arrange a series of lectures and discussion sessions with experts who can share recent developments and research findings.
Add More Alternatives for Quality Service
Patient inflow in hospitals is increasing with more awareness. However, the present infrastructure lacks the flexibility to accommodate everyone with the same quality and standard. As a result, many experience difficulties getting urgent appointments with consultants as they have a preoccupied schedule. Many complain of ill-treatment and rude behavior from hospital workers because they are overworked. Negligence and mismanagement incidents are increasing as the demand and supply gap widens.
On top of that, hospitals keep raising their charges without a satisfactory solution for the masses’ problems and grievances. But these excuses are not justifiable ethically and legally. Hence, hospitals should explore more alternatives to facilitate patients without compromising quality and standards.
- For instance, utilize telehealth to improve everyone’s access to healthcare services.
- Divert some services to tele-clinics if the on-the-ground infrastructure and facilities cannot accommodate patient inflow.
- Provide available consultants and appointment booking details on the website to minimize delays when patients visit hospitals.
- Offer home care services to reduce inflow in hospitals.
Ensure Sanitation in Healthcare Facilities
Hospital-acquired infections and diseases are serious concerns for healthcare professionals and researchers. Drug-resistant pathogens from hospitals can delay recovery and increase healthcare expenditure, stay in the hospital, and patients’ risk of death. Hence, hospitals must focus on sanitation and hygiene. Some steps to enhance sanitation and prevent the spread of pathogens may involve:
- Use quality detergents, floor cleaning products, fumigators, sanitizers, and antiseptics.
- Implement standard hygiene protocols and ensure everyone follows them.
- Encourage workers to wear personal protective gear to prevent acquiring or passing germs to sick patients.
- Place or install banners and posters of general safety and hygiene guidelines in visible nooks and corners for the public and hospital staff.
- Install automatic hand sanitizing dispensers everywhere and encourage everyone to sanitize their hands often.
Improve Ambiance and Patient Experience
Many dread seeing sick patients, emergency cases, and casualties while visiting hospitals. They keep their gazes lower to avoid seeing something that can further disturb them mentally. If hospitals have dreadful and stressful environments, patients look for excuses and avoid seeing a doctor until they are seriously ill. However, delaying treatment can jeopardize their health. Hence, hospitals must create a pleasant environment to minimize patients’ apprehension. Incorporate these settings to improve patient experience:
- Decorate the environment to make it more pleasant with some greenery and flowers.
- Set up comfortable chairs, sofas, and ventilating systems in clinics and waiting areas to minimize their physical and mental stress.
- Install TV in waiting areas and turn on something pleasant to divert their attention.
- Install cameras to monitor patient movement and instruct frontline workers to help them wherever they have difficulty.
- Seclude areas under construction with boundary walls, curtains, or plastic sheets to prevent noise, disturbance, and annoyance.
Educate and Involve Patients
A doctor or nurse’s job is confined within the hospital boundaries. They cannot follow patients and assist them around the clock. Patient awareness about their health issues and available treatment options is essential. A holistic treatment plan requires patients’ involvement as much as doctors. Thus, inform, educate, and involve patients throughout their treatment process.
- Be transparent about the severity of their health status.
- Guide and help them with financial assistance options available in the hospital or elsewhere if they cannot afford their treatment.
- Inform them about their right to share or hide information from their family.
- Elaborate possible treatment options and guide them about the pros and cons.
- Encourage and allow them to make decisions that make sense to them. After all, they will bear the consequences if they are negligent and unaware.
Be Kind and Empathetic
Patients visit hospitals in miserable and distressed situations. They anticipate healthcare experts can understand, help them, and relieve their apprehension without prejudice. Hence, healthcare workers and doctors must treat them with kindness. Implement the following practices to improve connection and patient satisfaction:
- Show them you understand their healthcare concerns and worries.
- Since they do not have expert knowledge, be patient with their questions, misconceptions, mistakes, and non-compliance.
- Start a conversation with greetings and spare them some time to relax with simple questions like how they are doing.
- Avoid multitasking when talking to patients, make eye contact, and show them you hear and understand.
- Avoid passing subjective or biased remarks about their health status, background, or lack of knowledge.
- Cross-check whether they understand your treatment plan and guidelines.
- Explain to them in simple terminology so they can follow your suggestions.
Quality care is not a standalone factor with a simple solution. It is a complex problem, as many other factors can affect and deteriorate healthcare quality. Hence, stakeholders must identify and categorize hindrances and loopholes that affect caregiving services and patient satisfaction.