Tag Archives: patient engagement

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Increasing Patient Engagement Improves Patient Outcomes

Patient engagement means the patient is doing more than just popping in for yearly checkups and going home without another thought toward their health.

It means transforming from a passive consumer into an active member of the team devoted to promoting health.

Educating Patients Leads to Compliance

The first step to patient engagement is education.

We know doctors and healthcare professionals are busy, facing mountains of paperwork and seemingly endless streams of patients. The shortage of healthcare professionals is also real.

However, taking the time to educate the patient on their condition can save them from coming back to your office next week or next month with exacerbated medical issues. Don’t just tell them to “stretch their wrist three times a day.” That information is easily filed away alongside “drink eight glasses of water” and “don’t go swimming after you eat.”

Instead, show the patient a diagram of the wrist on a nearby monitor or medical computer, and point out how tendon gliding can alleviate some of the symptoms, and why it works. More importantly, tell them what can happen to the tendons if they don’t do the recommended stretches.

Help Patients Educate Themselves

Another way to save time and increase patient compliance and education is to offer a bedside or in-room medical computer terminal that the patient has limited access to. It could even be the terminal that’s already in the room, with a patient-specific login.

From it, the patient could pull up their new prescriptions and learn how often they have to take their medication. They could remind themselves how to take it: with water, with food, or only in the morning.

The patient could even access information on what the drug does and how it helps. Again, “take this pill because I said so” is never going to sink in like “take this pill so your veins don’t get so small you can’t move blood around your body anymore.”

You could use such a terminal to give the patient all sorts of useful information – what food to eat, what beverages to stay away from, how often they need to take a walk around the facility. This last one could come with an alarm or reminder.

You could even show them a video or animated graphic that visually outlines a procedure they’re either considering or about to undergo.  

This doesn’t only have to be available bedside, either. For a situation like a doctor’s office, a kiosk or medical tablet in the waiting room could allow patients to log in and learn all of this information as well.

Stay in Touch to Stop Unnecessary Appointments

The next step is communication.

When the patient knows “there are no stupid questions,” they’ll be far more likely to come to you when they have a healthcare problem.

And, if you’re active on social media, have a text help or nursing line, or regularly share your email with your patients, they’ll also reach out to you remotely with small matters instead of either ignoring them (which is bad for their health) or scheduling an unnecessary appointment (which eats time and resources for all involved).

Many providers and offices use patient portals, an automated system that allows patients to contact their doctor or doctor’s office through a safe, secure channel.

Leveraging Communication Technology

Think of that bedside medical computer or medical monitor from the example earlier in this article. Not only could it be used for convenient patient education, but also to facilitate communication.

Imagine a patient using the medical computer to call the nurse’s station, and instead of a beeping light or buzzing speaker the nurse can actually see the patient face-to-face and address their concerns without leaving the desk. Not only will the patient feel more comfortable knowing they have that kind of access, but it could increase efficiency across the board.

Instead of running back and forth between rooms to find out what’s the matter when a patient rings, one nurse could be in charge of this form of communication with every room.

That triage nurse could then dispatch nurses where they’re most needed, saving them time and energy that could be best spent somewhere else.

Patient Satisfaction Strengthens Patient Engagement

This is where patient satisfaction ties in with patient engagement: patients are more likely to partner with their doctor and medical team if they are happy.

Studies and surveys have shown that patients who score higher on satisfaction and engagement metrics like the “Patient Activation Measure” are “significantly more likely than people who score lower to engage in preventive behavior such as regular check-ups, screenings, and immunizations.”

It’s basic human psychology — we disregard the advice and opinions of people we don’t like. It’s the basis for most of the unrest on social media.

So, imagine a patient who feels they’ve had a horrible experience at the hospital. They’re angry at the doctor, angry at the nurses, and they want to leave. Then, the doctor lets them know they can’t eat red meat anymore, or that they should get some exercise, or instructs them how and when to change the bandages, there’s a good chance the patient isn’t even listening anymore. Or, if they are listening, they’ve decided the doctor/staff/hospital is clearly a mess, and doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

This, in turn, leads to the patient not following the instructions, which can drastically affect their future health. The patient is not engaged, and, in fact, may be actively going against their own health because they’re angry or feeling ignored.

As you can see, patient satisfaction isn’t just about dollars and numbers — it directly affects the long-term health of the patient.

The Key to Patient Engagement

It takes both sides of the healthcare equation to make patient engagement a reality – patient participation and clinician support.

To find out more about how to leverage medical computers and tablets to improve patient outcomes you can contact Cybernet today.

patient engagement and medical tablets

3 Problems Hospitals Face that Can Be Reduced with Medical Computers

There are hiccups in workflow and patient care caused by universal problems in hospitals, but thankfully they can be shrunk. Before the communication age revolutionized how we do work, mistakes were abundant and costly. Fortunately for us now, productivity is higher and manual methods of patient care have been automated enough so error is nearly eliminated—for hospitals that stay current with technological trends, that is. Sometimes hospitals can get left behind by not advancing their technology to what’s available in the 21st century. Here are some problems tech-slow hospitals still face.

The Medical Tablet to Solve Medication Problems

There are a myriad of medication problems that aren’t as apparent with face value—improper medicine choice, prescription errors (yes, illegibility), improper medication strength, improper labeling, it’s an exhaustive list. These errors are classified as either knowledge, rule, action, or memory-based errors. These errors, all related to human interaction, occur when distractions are frequent or staff is overworked. We could go into detail about every possible example of an error and the simple reasons behind them, but the simple fact is that they occur and there are methods of reducing their frequency.

Remove the human error out of medication handling by using a medical computer or tablet with barcode scanner. You can identify a patient by their medical wristband by scanning it and then feeding that information into a medical device. A medical tablet can consult a database of medications upon scanning the patient wristband barcode, identify the correct medication, access previous healthcare records, pull previous dosage requirements, send information to a printer for proper labeling, dispense and bottle the medication, and then print the correct label, removing human error out of the mix. It’s a completely automated ailment-to-solution process for patients.

Constant Communication is a Must

According to The Joint Commission, communication problems lead to 70 percent of patient care delays. So how do we improve communication to see that percentage shrink? It’s not like all medical staff are available to take an impromptu meeting, and it’s certainly not ethical to pull out a cell phone in the middle of conversation with a patient to answer a text. Highly effective, constant communication is a must, especially after a nurse meets with a patient to discuss whatever pressing topic is on their minds—if a patient requests changes in medication, doctors should be notified immediately.

Nurses and medical staff can ensure constant communication as a group or on an individual basis with medical tablets. Some (if not all) EHR systems utilize texting software to instantly update all connected individuals of matters in the hospital. Using a touch-screen keyboard and their EHR software, they can text individuals as a group or just a single person for immediate information sending. A medical tablet is a better choice over other electronic devices because if any patient information is shared via a text, the information is kept secure and protected on the medical tablet. Plus, the proper medical tablets are durable enough to withstand shock and accidental damage in the case of a staff member with butterfingers.

Giving Power to the Patients

Decades ago, patients relied solely on nurses and staff to cater to each bedside request—and the staff wasn’t always available at the press of a button. Imagine you’re a nurse and three patients press the call button at the same time. There’s a conundrum of time and priority.

When patient engagement technology took off, it empowered the bedridden by giving them access to a food menu at whim, entertainment with a selection of movies, and an opportunity to stay in contact with whomever they wanted via teleconference. It’s trends in patient engagement that enhance a person’s independence by controlling more by the bedside to make their stay a little brighter. Nurses are called to the bedside less frequently so patient care can be their sole focus.

Addressing technological problems in “slow” hospitals is vital to overall success—that being sending patients home happy and in better health—and the technical solutions mentioned above are prime for seeing those problems go away. In the 21st century, hospitals need better technology to ensure fewer errors and empower patients. Don’t be left in the dust while other hospitals are miles ahead. Take a look at what we have to offer to modernize your healthcare facility and contact us today to see how we can help you improve the overall patient experience in your facility.