“How are you feeling?”

Ever noticed how much you’re asked that question when you visit your provider for a check-up? You’ll definitely get asked even more if you’re hospitalized for any length of time. While you’re right in thinking the question is a query of your health, it and your responses are part of an important medical practice called a “patient outcome.” Today’s article covers precisely these are, their importance in the health industry, and five ways to keep it high for any medical group. 

What Is An Outcome in Healthcare?

An “outcome” in healthcare measures changes in a patient’s health due to an intervention. That “‘intervention” is any form of care and treatment provided by a hospital or medical practice. A stay in the hospital, surgery, and the administration of antibiotics are all examples of interventions. Their effects, or how they change the patient, are an outcome.

Measuring the health outcomes of patients is vital to healthcare groups. Today’s patients are more informed than ever about their medical options, and they will stick with groups whom they feel provide stellar outcomes. This rewards the group with more funding and a better reputation. 

Adverse outcomes like infections and diagnostic mistakes have the opposite effect. Besides possible financial loss and a ruined reputation, the group may come under scrutiny by state and federal health boards and agencies.

Healthcare groups use Patient-Reported Outcomes, or PROs, to evaluate and review patient outcomes in their hospitals or practices. PROs come in various forms: self-reporting apps, questionnaires, interviews, and patient kiosks. All help providers better assess their patient’s health status and satisfaction.

Here are five ways healthcare organizations can improve patient outcomes.

Prioritizing Patient Safety for a Positive Health Outcome

Ensuring patients are safe is a significant way to provide a positive health outcome. Here are some methods to do so: 

  • Keep the facilities as clean as possible. This prevents the spread of opportunistic infections. Equipment like medical-grade monitors can make the task much more manageable. Medical staff can spray hospital-grade cleaners on them without concern of damaging thanks to their IP65-rated sealed front bezels against dust and liquids..
  • Standardize on one electronic medical records system (EMR). Or, if using different EMRs for different departments, make sure they’re all compatible with each other. Such set-ups help reduce inefficiencies like multiple patient records as well as errors. 
  • Use medical-grade equipment like medical-grade computers as much as possible. They have been tested and certified to work with other hospital electronics without interference. They’re also safe to work near patients. 

Following safety procedures and protocols can go a long way to a positive outcome for both the patient and the healthcare group. 

Communication to Improve Patient Outcome

Patients and their loved ones like to stay informed of how the patient is doing while under treatment. Healthcare groups have a greater chance of a positive outcome by keeping the patients in the loop about their medical condition and status of care.

Electronic tools like telehealth make it easier for patients to stay in touch with their providers. Some ways they can be applied include: 

  • Help manage chronic diseases. Patients can reach out from their homes or other remote locations for medical care 24/7. The provider and other medical staff stay in touch via real-time video or chat, providing everything from regular virtual follow-ups to simply giving reassurance. 
  • Ensure continuity of care and discharge procedures. Providers can ensure their discharged patients receive proper aftercare after leaving the hospital. All involved providers are given summary reports to provide consistent treatment, which they provide to the patients through telehealth technologies like video chats and even reminders to take their medications. These methods and more aim to improve patient outcomes and minimize their readmission to the hospital for the same condition. 

Engaging with patients outside of the exam room or hospital helps improve outcomes and patient satisfaction. 

Going Remote for Better Health Outcomes

Not all patients are sound enough to stay actively engaged with their providers via video or chat. They may be unsure how to convey their symptoms or speak a different language. Or they may have medical conditions like a stroke or dementia that may make such personal engagement impossible.

Digital technologies like remote patient monitoring (RPM) can aid in such situations. The patient’s vitals are continuously monitored by medical devices at their location, with the data sent to their provider and staff 24/7. Patient check-ups can be done virtually, with the provider pulling the data up on their PC or medical tablet.

There’s another advantage to RPM. Medical staff can quickly react to any abnormalities like a heart attack, alerting any on-site staff like a caregiver or calling 9-1-1. 

RPM and related technologies like healthcare wearables improve the outcome for patients whose health issues cannot wait for in-person visits. 

Improving Health Outcome Through Data and Analytics

Healthcare groups can also improve patient outcomes by determining areas that need improvement. “Areas” can range from processes like registering patients as they come into the clinic to reducing insurance rejection. 

Data and analytics are some of the most effective ways to find and improve these areas. The data can be drawn from sources like health records to patient surveys. Analytics can then be performed to see the areas needing improvement. Analytics can also be done on the effects of new policies on patient outcome: Does patient satisfaction change, for example, if visits with a provider drop from 20 minutes to 10 minutes? 

Many healthcare groups today are turning to artificial intelligence in data gathering and analysis due to its speed and greater efficiency, especially compared to human analysts.

Satisfied Staff Equals Better Patient Outcome

Finally, healthcare groups should examine their medical staff. Specifically, they should see how the working conditions and atmosphere of the group affect the staff and their care of patients. 

  • Do the providers have the proper support? “Proper support” can range from aides like nurses to the time needed to update patients’ EMRs. Lack of any of these can affect the provider, which in turn can lead to less-than-stellar care of their patients.
  • How do all important furnishings and equipment affect medical staff during their rounds? Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working conditions. Ergonomics in healthcare applies this, for example, by ensuring equipment like medical monitors and workstations on wheels are appropriately adjusted for use without strain on staff during their rounds. 

Providers and other health staff in the proper working conditions will thrive, leading to better patient outcomes.   

Closing Comment

Patient outcome is the result of an intervention by medical staff. Outcomes, especially good ones, are essential to the healthcare industry as they affect everything from finances to their reputation. 

If you’re looking for ways to keep your group’s patient outcomes as high as possible, contact the team at Cybernet Manufacturing. We’d be more than happy to discuss how our medical-grade PCs affect outcomes from increased patient safety to medical staff ergonomics.  

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