How would you like to be treated if you needed medical attention? Though oftentimes overlooked, the experience of the patient while moving through the healthcare system is tantamount to treatment itself. The care of a patient, both on and off the hospital bed, has become a growing concern for many hospitals looking to improve their quality of care.
As many hospitals pivot their system of care to being more patient oriented and less corporate facing, roles are being developed to ensure that patients are made to feel comfortable while receiving the attention they need. Several hospitals have implemented the position of patient experience officer, or in simpler terms, an intermediary between the patient and hospital. When interviewed regarding her position, Saint Thomas’ Dawn Rudolph says “My job is to advocate for change.” She states, “I think it brings a credible voice that sometimes gets lost if it’s not sitting at the executive table.” As operating CXO for the last three years, Dawn has done much to reduce patient wait times before treatment, and keeping them informed regarding the status of their case.
Though the personal touch is necessary, technology has moved leaps and bounds to improve the quality of patient care in the healthcare system. Wi-Fi, an amenity we’ve all grown attached to, is being implemented in hospitals throughout the country. By pioneering the concept of the Connected Hospital, Wi-Fi allows healthcare professionals and patients to move about the grounds while being monitored remotely. Beyond providing a new level of connectivity between patient and doctor, oxygen levels, smart bed programs, and EMRs (electronic medical records) are now all made available at anytime through Wi-Fi.
Along with improvements to the hospital, doctors are receiving more sensitivity training to aid in the connection with patients. Where traditional medicine focused on the treatment of ailments, this new approach places importance on the care of patients. With a staggering amount of appointments missed every year, it’s clear that a big part of the problem was the public’s opinions of doctors. “It’s pretty fundamental to show our patients that we care about them as people,” said Danielle Ofri, a physician at Bellevue Hospital and associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, “Otherwise medicine could be practiced by a computer.”
Whether the improvements come on the personal level by teaching doctors how to better interact with patients, creating positions to ensure that patients are treated with respect, or implementing emergent technology to prevent the feeling of patient isolation, the level of patient care has increased dramatically over the years. With millions of general care appointments missed a year costing the healthcare system billions of dollars, it benefits everyone to care a little more about healthcare.