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How to improve patient communication and satisfaction

Sterile environments, strange noises and a palpable tension in the air make hospitals a very scary place for patients and their families.  A common myth amongst hospitals, is the notion that “If we build a nice new building, patient satisfaction scores will go up.”  This was highlighted in an article written by Richard Bolton Siegrist, Jr., MBA, MS, CPA for the American Medical Association in an article written in November 2013 titled Patient Satisfaction: History, Myths, and Misperceptions.

“It is easy to attribute low satisfaction scores to overutilized capacity or a lack of recent capital investment in newer facilities. While these may contribute somewhat in certain circumstances, spending more money does not necessarily increase patient satisfaction. Surprisingly, it can lower satisfaction scores in the short term while staff gets used to working in the new facilities or as bottlenecks are moved from one location to another.”

Technology has forever changed how we interact and communicate with each other.  We now live in a world of instant everything.  Instant gratification, instant information and instant communication.  Technology has even changed how we communicate.  Until just a few years ago emojis did not even exist and nobody knew that 🙂 was a happy face.  Now we live in a world where people choose to communicate with their closest friends and family via text more than any other way.

Hospitals are home to some of the most technologically advanced equipment and yet still communicate as if they were stuck 50 years ago.  Why is something so simple like patient and family communication so difficult in a hospital?  The reality is that it doesn’t have to be a burden on the medical provider to be connected to their patients and families.

EASE (Electronic Access to Surgical Events) is a HIPAA compliant texting platform that allows doctors and nurses to communicate and update their patients and families.  EASE recently completed a study of over 1500 families that participated in the EASE program and found that 98% of them said receiving updates during their loved one’s medical procedure reduced their anxiety.  A simple series of updates letting you know what was happening throughout the procedure had a profound effect on the waiting process.

The doctors and nurses sent simple updates highlighting the medical milestones such as induction of anesthesia, when the surgery began, coming on or off bypass and of course when all was completed and the patient was in recovery.

The study concluded that of the 1500 families that participated, 80% of them said that the availability of EASE would influence their choice of hospital.  How many pretty buildings, water features and sculptures can say the same?  I do agree that making a hospital a more appealing environment does have proven benefits, but improved communication can have an even larger impact.

The study also showed that families want to receive updates approximately every thirty minutes or their anxiety and stress levels rise.  This proves that families are desperate for information and want good communication in healthcare.  EASE allows clinicians to securely send texts, photos and videos through their HIPAA compliant messaging platform.

So how do you improve communication in healthcare?

  • Start by communicating the way we all communicate in todays world. Text, photos and videos
  • Try and update families every 30 minutes during a medical procedure
  • Highlight what is happening in real-time so their is transparency.  Many times the fear of the unknown is worse than reality.
  • Families and friends of patients not only want to know what is happening but also be educated on the process.

Hospitals do amazing work everyday and you should tell your patients, their families and friends about it too.  There are many healthcare communcation solutions for doctors to talk to each other, but EASE gives you the ability to do HIPAA compliant texting to patients and families.

For more information on how you can communicate with EASE contact us today

2 Comments

  1. Barbara Gilbert

    As a soon-to-be patient and as an RN who comes from a family of physicians, nurses, and other care-givers, and as the geek I’ve become, I can easily see what a fantastic tool this app is! I look forward to having my family using it when I have cancer surgery very soon. Thank you for helping me to put their minds at ease. That eases my mind and makes my worries about them less. When I am well again, I will probably write about your app when I become the web mistress of our over 55 community’s website!

  2. Patrick de la Roza, MBA

    Thank you Barbara and we wish you a speedy recovery and will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. It is unfortunate, but most hospitals do not understand the importance of information and transparency to improving the experience for a patient and family. EASE is a simple formula. Try and update families about every half hour and it makes a world of difference. Thank you.

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