Lifting the patient voice: Delivering a personalized healthcare experience

As healthcare providers, we strive to personalize, humanize and demystify the healthcare experience for patients. We want the patient to know that they are always at the center of their care. We strive to preserve their respect and dignity. It is only respectful to communicate effectively with patients and their families by sharing information about their care, which in turn ensures the patient has the information to participate and collaborate with the healthcare team. This seems like a daunting task for a bedside nurse but there are innovative ways to deliver a personalized healthcare experience through computer automation during the hospital stay. Engagement solutions can deliver and obtain pertinent information at the right time!

Engaging patients for example with education about their diagnosis, information about their daily plan of care and their hospital experience helps ensure that they are an active participant in their health care. That may mean helping a patient fully understand a new diagnosis or responding quickly to a service issue, such as a problem with quiet at night or room cleanliness. Learning that a patient didn’t sleep well is a good start but addressing the root cause of the issue requires understanding why the patient didn’t sleep well.

Everyone agrees that educating patients and caregivers is vitally important for a safe discharge and optimal outcome. However, the reality is that patient education often becomes a cursory routine performed at discharge when the patient is vulnerable and overwhelmed.

There are a plethora of patient engagement solutions that aim to help patients understand a diagnosis, view lab results and improve the experience of care.

Likewise, rounding is considered an industry best practice for clinicians that leads to improvements in communication, service recovery, patient outcomes and overall patient experience. Many digital rounding tools are on the market today that aim to help staff communicate more efficiently about patient needs, gauge the patient experience and flag problems requiring immediate resolution.

But what happens when an inpatient engagement solution and a digital rounding tool are integrated? An integrated solution puts patients in the driver’s seat and feeds information to nurses in real time so that they always know what is going on with each patient.

And that is where the magic happens.

Helping patients become active participants in care

Many hospitals still provide paper-based education and rely on nursing staff to be the primary source of information and requests during their stay. Patients often either receive inconsistent information or receive little education in the hospital and then are given a stack of papers on their way out the door.

This leads to confusion among patients and caregivers about what to do to manage their health after discharge, which can contribute to adverse outcomes. Further, nursing staff spend too much time fielding service requests or delivering basic information, rather than teach-back and higher-value activities.

When facing a new diagnosis, such as COPD, for example, the patient has a lot to learn. But the information is so complex that it may take some time to fully understand it. GetWell Inpatient serves up bite-sized, interactive education that can be absorbed over the course of a hospital stay. The library of content is specific to the patient, can be repeated throughout their admission and is available to patients after discharge via the portal or there is even a post-discharge solution, GetWell Loop, that interacts with patients outside the four walls of the hospital, keeping them connected to their care team.

Several years ago, when the hospital where I worked implemented GetWell’s Inpatient solution, the impact of these interactive videos quickly became evident. I remember walking into a patient’s room. Recently diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he and has family were watching a breathing training video. The patient, his wife and their grandchild were all sitting up straight with one hand on their stomachs and the other on their chest practicing diaphragmatic breathing together. Many other nurses witnessed this and similar scenarios play out and commented to me on what a powerful moment that was.

Instead of the clinical folks driving every encounter and every piece of education, the patient is in the driver’s seat. When patients interact with a system like GetWellNetwork, they become active participants in their care. The system prompts them at key times to review disease and medication education.

By marrying an engagement solution with the EHR and a digital rounding solution, the nurse has quickly visibility into the patients’ completion and understanding of the education. This information raises the quality of teach back because the patient has a higher level of understanding on which the nurse can build. Rather than applying the same checklist to each patient, rounding becomes a conversation driven by the patient and his or her needs.

Streamlining communication to the right department at the right time

Traditionally, nurses are at the center of all requests for information and assistance from patients and caregivers. As a result, decision bottlenecks, communication gaps and missed or delayed tasks commonly occur. Further, pulling nurses into all requests takes them away from the bedside and functioning at the top of license.

Within GetWell Inpatient, patients can provide feedback and send requests to the appropriate department, giving them a sense of control throughout their stay. For example, a new mom can request the lactation consultant for breastfeeding support. When a trash can is full, a patient can alert environmental services. If a patient has questions about a new medication, a pharmacist can provide additional support when he or she performs rounds. How much more meaningful is the conversation when the patient is talking to the pharmacist, who is truly the expert on medication?

With an integrated rounding solution, all of these requests for information and service appear in the application, providing a holistic view of patients. This enables real-time service recovery and allows nurses to prioritize which patients to round on first.

Providing a personalized care experience

Patients are more than a room number, disease or diagnosis. They are holistic human beings seeking a personalized health care experience. By leveraging data inside a digital rounding tool and an inpatient engagement solution, hospitals gain real-time insight on patient engagement, experience, service recovery issues and education comprehension. This allows clinical staff to prioritize their time and turn rounding into a conversation led by the patient, lifting the patient voice and elevating the patient’s healthcare experience to another level.