- October 5, 2021
- Posted by: James Haggerty
- Category: Quality Improvement
In the world of value-based care, it is expected that professionals are going to be striving for the best possible patient care outcomes. Nonetheless, this is a huge goal, and it’s often neverending. There will always be new ways to improve patient outcomes and achieve even better patient-based care.
Why Better Outcomes Matter for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers
In the modern age of healthcare, there are numerous reasons why you and your practice should be pursuing better patient outcomes. Although you’ve probably already noticed, healthcare providers seem to be placed under increasing pressure to better the satisfaction and overall outcomes of their patients. In part, this sort of pressure could be a result of value-based reimbursement and the impact this has on the long-term success of your practice.
Further, pressure can also be due to your patients being more informed than ever before. As access to healthcare reviews and information becomes even more accessible, patients are more likely to seek out the best possible care based upon this information. Although it is fantastic that patients are becoming increasingly aware of their healthcare options, this can put some additional stress on providers.
If a medical care provider is widely known for providing superior healthcare and positive outcomes, patients are likely to uncover this information. These sorts of medical groups or hospitals will then be the only practices that the patient pursues, dismissing those who only have adequate (or even subpar) patient outcomes.
In recent years, a potential alternative to fee-for-service reimbursement has emerged in the form of value-based care. Instead of placing emphasis on the quantity of care that a practitioner can provide to their patients, this updated system stresses the quality of the care that patient receives.
This is a highly valuable development for the field of healthcare. With the shift over to value-based care, patients are more likely to receive the best possible care — it can also allow practitioners to begin curbing costs. The standards may have risen, but overall, this was a necessary and incredibly positive development in the world of healthcare.
3 Methods to Improving Patient Care Outcomes
To truly begin improving patient care outcomes, it is necessary that healthcare providers take a well-rounded approach. Essentially, in order for outcomes to become better, you will generally need to address several of the following areas. Keep in mind that patient care isn’t a one-dimensional process, nor is it an easy fix. The facets to high-quality patient care are practically endless, so you should keep that in mind as you seek out improved outcomes for your patients.
1. Involve Patients in Developing Their Care Plan
As a healthcare professional, it might be tempting to task yourself with the development of a care plan without the direction of a lesser-informed patient. However, although a patient is often less versed in health and treatment strategies, they are considerably more familiar with their own needs and perspective. Remember, care plans should always be highly individualized and tailored to the overall wellbeing of the individual — after all, the patient is more than a manifestation of the condition you’re treating.
Make sure your patient knows that you’re approaching their care plan with an open mind and that you’re willing to listen to their input and ideas. Create an environment where patients aren’t afraid to ask questions about the care plan you’ve developed. By doing this, you’ll effectively improve patient care communication while also building a more positive relationship with the patient’s family. After all, when the patient’s loved ones believe that you’re willing to work with the individual to create the best and most personalized plan, they’re going to be more at ease.
Further, ensure that your patient is educated about their condition, as well as the treatment choices that are available to them. When they possess this level of knowledge, they’re going to feel far more empowered and willing to collaborate with you on their own treatment. They’ll likely be more comfortable asking questions, as well as providing input and suggestions.
You can also request feedback from your patients to engage with them even further. Asking for feedback can come in a variety of forms — for instance, you can ask the individual how they felt about the appointment. You can even begin utilizing phone surveys or setting up patient advisory committees. The more you engage with your patients and involve them in their own care, the more the medical professional can grow and improve their approach to care.
2. Promote Transparency
While this might seem like an obvious point to make, it is still incredibly important to draw attention to. As a healthcare professional, transparency is one of the barest necessities — if you normalize misleading or hiding vital information from your patients, the entire system is bound to collapse. Without full transparency, it won’t be possible for you to develop the best possible care plans for each individual patient. Honesty and transparency are fundamental elements of successful healthcare services, as well as patient care outcomes.
Transparency isn’t just important in your interactions with patients, however. It’s also crucial that your practice is transparent about the patient outcomes themselves. Notably, patient outcomes are largely dependent upon the quality of the individual’s diagnosis, the treatment decisions they’re provided with, and how their ongoing care is handled.
In order for any of these areas to be improved, clinicians must remain transparent about current shortcomings. If these issues aren’t acknowledged, they will be impossible to analyze and avoid repeating. Keep in mind that transparency isn’t always simple and that much of the time, you’ll need to put targeted effort into cultivating it.
Clearly, outcome reporting should be as accurate as possible — this is something that nearly all healthcare professionals understand. Even so, they might find themselves held back by the fear of public critique should they release the information. Ultimately, however, without transparency at all stages of the process, it won’t be possible for your practice to grow and correct its past errors.
3. Make Care More Accessible
The state of a patient’s health is dependent upon far more than just the state of their body and how they choose to treat it — rather, there are social determinants of the health of your patients — and these should be accounted for, however possible.
Traditionally, the medical field hasn’t paid adequate attention to the social effects of health and how certain demographics are more likely to struggle with the overall state of their wellbeing. No matter the social class, ethnicity, or any group that your patients belong to, you should be striving to make healthcare as accessible as possible.
Disease is complex, and a number of social factors can take either a direct or an indirect effect on someone’s health (or lack thereof). For instance, an individual’s social position, education level, living environment, and income take a significant toll on that person’s health and access to healthcare services.
To begin bettering patient outcomes, medical professionals should be willing to consider these long-term factors and the impact they might have on a patient. Then, it will be far simpler for healthcare providers to reduce or even prevent the effects of disease on the patient. Ensure that everyone on your team has an understanding of the patient’s medical history, allowing them to most effectively employ the best patient care technology. This will make it easier for your care team to prevent or minimize errors, as well as promote compliance with the patient’s care plan.
Accessibility can also be improved by making scheduling as convenient as possible for each of your patients. For example, if someone is looking to schedule an appointment (or even just contact you) through your website, they shouldn’t be required to make several clicks. Instead, this is a process that should quickly be obvious to them — scheduling should never be confusing or take an unnecessary number of steps. Try to boil it down to the least number of steps before the appointment can be successfully scheduled.
How Technology Can Improve Patient Care
Without taking full advantage of the technological resources at your disposal, it will be far more difficult to improve outcomes.
To provide optimal healthcare, you shouldn’t be focusing solely on what happens within the walls of your practice. Rather, it’s vital that you maintain communication with discharged patients, as well as provide them with education to better understand and manage their own care. Without a powerful technology platform, these goals are going to be nearly impossible to achieve. If you’d like to prioritize patient outcomes, you’ll need to utilize software that’s tailored to help support care management.
If you’d like your patient care to be at its peak, you’ll need to tend to the following variables:
- Professional training. This isn’t a one-in-done tactic but rather an ongoing process.
- Quality infrastructure. Infrastructure is a top-down function, and quality starts at the top.
- IT efficiency. Technology should be a prime component of care.
- Healthcare team competence. Each member of your team should be well-vetted.
To stay on top of these factors, you’ll need to stay organized with a patient-centric platform. That way, you’ll be able to avoid some of the most repetitive and tedious administrative duties — so, you’ll have more time to focus on patient care and communication itself. It will also be far simpler for you to hone in on providing education, which can help your patients to stay on top of their own care.
If patient outcomes are to improve across the medical field, more funding will need to go into innovation and the development of new technology. Fortunately, software and apps to improve outcomes are constantly in development — this will allow healthcare to continue improving in quality and accessibility over time.
Improving Patient Outcomes With Professional Healthcare Consulting
As patients become increasingly informed about their healthcare options, and as the standard for quality healthcare continues to rise, it’s vital that professionals stay on top of bettering outcomes. Without positive patient outcomes, you’ll notice that your practice quickly falls behind — these fundamental issues aren’t going to be overlooked by patients. The state of the healthcare industry is improving, and it’s more important than ever that clinicians and care professionals keep up with the rising standard of care.
Improving patient outcomes isn’t always a straightforward process. Generally, you’ll have to take a number of variables into account before determining where your practice is falling short. Remember to continuously improve how you communicate with your patients, ensuring that their care is a collaborative process. Whenever you tend to the unique needs of the patient, they’re going to be more satisfied with the care they receive, and their treatment will be a much smoother process.
Experienced Chief Executive Addiction Recovery and Mental Health Professional
Business professional in the Addiction Recovery and Mental Health industry for the past 26 years. Caring, compassionate and strongly motivated to make a difference in the organizations I am affiliated with and welfare of the population we serve. Currently focused on advocating, educating and developing projects leveraging evidence based, real time technology to support individuals in recovery.