“Cure” is the primary healthcare expectation, but apart from cure and recovery, patient satisfaction is also considered as the desired outcome of care and treatment. Patient satisfaction can help to evaluate the various distinct dimensions of healthcare services. Information about patient satisfaction is indispensable in assessing the quality of care and to design and manage healthcare services. The outcome of patient satisfaction information helps to improve the image of the hospital and in turn improve the service usage and market share. Positive patient satisfaction outcome will help the organization, as the customer markets positively about the hospital and prefer the organization than another. Few healthcare services that play a crucial role in positive patient experience are
Emergency services also called as first-aid team, emergency squad, life saving squad, rescue squad and ambulance or transportation service needs no foreword but to brush up emergency medical services (EMS) are the medical aid provided immediately to a patient in critical life-threatening situations. Emergency service includes
- Out-of-hospital service that is delivered right at the spot of accident or mishap
- In-hospital emergency service that attends patient who is brought to the hospital in critical condition
The goal of healthcare emergency services should not only be focused on providing best facilities but also should aim at delivering an outstanding patient experience, the vision should be save life, prevent further injury, promote recovery and positive emergency experience. To deliver good emergency experience every healthcare center should be capable of providing these basic requirements
- Immediate medical care
- Less waiting time
- Timely transport of patient to definitive care or higher level of care
- Excellent on-scene medical service and also during transportation
- Active squad members
- Round-the-clock telephone and transportation services
- Well trained physicians, nurses, and technicians
- Staffs should be trained in providing “Triage method” of service, which helps sorting people on their illness and deciding who should be treated first. The basic triage levels are
- Emergent: requiring immediate medical attention
- Urgent: high risk of developing life-threatening consequences
- Non-urgent: not critical, but might develop illness over the next 24-48 hours
- Routine: require routine medical follow-ups or medicine refills
Apart from these basic emergency requirements every hospital should access its service provided by the emergency department and patient satisfaction. The key areas that help to relate and measure service provided and patient satisfaction are
- Accessibility of service
- Co-ordination of the emergency staffs
- Continuity and transition of service (follow-ups)
- Confident provided to the patient
- Emotional support provided by staffs during emergency service
- Well-informed staffs
- Medication given to patients during emergency care for physical soothe
- Respecting patient’s preferences, privacy and dignity
- Courtesy shown by emergency service provider
- Overall experience gained during stay in emergency department
Undergoing treatment is a very stressful situation and if treatment involves surgery then it is even more stressful for the patients, their family and many other near ones. In such stressful situation support and dignified care from the healthcare staffs will help easy and fast recovery and have a worthy time spent in the post-operative ward. Post-operative service is the care provided to patients after surgery. Post-operative care aims at preventing infection, enhancing healing and helping patient to go back to normal at the earliest. Post-operative patient experience depends on many factors like accessibility, convenience of service, infra-structure, interpersonal relations, skills of healthcare professionals, expectation and preferences of patients.
For patient, post-operative situation is often accompanied with pain, depression, anxiety, fear, fatigue and cognitive impairment, which can affect the patient’s recovery speed. In such cases it is the utmost duty of healthcare professional and staffs to ensure that the patient experiences a perfect feel good and cheerful atmosphere. Post-operative care should be individualized and accessed or modified according to patient’s needs and response. To make the post operative stay more successful the staffs should also take care of the adverse effects of post-operative medications. Some patients who were very sick before surgery need careful and continuous attention after surgery, as they might develop complications. Extra care must be provided to such patients until they are stable.
One very often overlooked aspect of post-operative care is effective communication with the family members of the patient. Though initially many clinicians give regular updates on patient’s condition, overtime they become reluctant to deliver the declining health condition of critically ill patient. Quite often this communication gap results in dissatisfied family members, poor interaction and law-suit. To avoid all such negative experiences the healthcare professionals can select one of the close and well-educated members as spokesperson and funnel all communication through that person. Effective communication during and before the surgery is also very important, sometime involving and discussing the patient’s condition and surgical procedure with the patients and their family members and also taking into account their consideration and preferences help them feel involved in their own healthcare.
Best post-operative experience can also be provided by including social services, for long-term stay patients, which includes attending their financial needs, accommodation for out-of-town patient’s family and also arrange for discharge or shifting patient to another facility. The visiting hours of family members should also be convenient and liberal.
Having a test or scan can be a daunting experience as the thought of result might be lingering in the patients mind. Care and comfort during diagnostic procedures can help patients keep calm and confident. Improving patient experience during diagnosis will of course not change the result but will help the patient face the situation with confidence. Diagnostic services should focus on passionate care and strive to deliver a very positive professional environment with friendly caring staffs. A quick effective diagnostic service with high standard of cleanliness must be provided. To enhance the patient experience positively it is important that the patients and their family are continuously informed about the test and the test results.
Based on patient’s feedback, who complain about long waiting hours, long travel and high cost of diagnostic services, the UK based NHS diagnostic service has initiated – The direct access diagnostic services. This initiative offers greater convenience and options to patients by giving them 3 alternative appointment slots and to choose the location where they wish to have the procedure done. The direct access diagnostic services have been successful due to its speed, flexibility, choice, advance facilities, highly qualified staffs and clinical excellence. Adopting the direct access diagnostic service by healthcare organizations is a step forward towards achieving the vision of integrated healthcare delivery system and to provide the best patient experience.
Apart from providing comprehensive emergency and diagnostic services every healthcare center should provide excellent rehabilitation services also. Many healthcare centers are in the misconception that providing good emergency, diagnostic and treatment services satisfy patients and their family and give them a good experience. But they fail to realize that after treatment or surgery many patients might face hard time recovering as neither the patients nor their family members are aware of care during recovery. The need for rehabilitation services is well documented for major diseases like heart attack, stroke etc, but not for other diseases. As more and more patients survive many dreadful diseases there is an increased recognition for the need of rehabilitative services.
Rehabilitative services or programs help patients to deal with the after effect of disease or late effects of treatment. Providing early rehabilitation services will help minimize the range of disability and also the effects of treatment. To provide world class rehabilitative services the key aim should be to help patients cope up with their disease throughout the diagnostic and treatment stage. Rehabilitation services provide an optimized stateliness and reduce the effect of the disease. A rehabilitation package should have the following fundamentals
- Early assessment and timely response to needs
- Planning rehabilitation services that include assessment, goal setting, care and education
- Co-ordination in the on-going assessment
- Care from trained experts
- Responsive and integrated service
- A team with right mixture of specialists and general staffs
- Quality care which is patient centered and prevents long term effect and provides better patient experience
- Easy and good communication that is available to patients at all stages
Rehabilitation programs can also be conducted to help patients and their family members learn ways to adapt to daily activities and routines to meet their new needs and limitations. Patient-centered care is the core element of successful rehabilitation, in absence of patient centered care patients report a sense of dissatisfaction with the healthcare services. A compassionate rehabilitation service that involves patients in physical therapy like walking, simple exercises and other activities will help treat pain, weakness and walking difficulty. Dealing compassionately and politely during recovery time will have significant effect on clinical outcome.