Healthcare professionals are busier than ever, for reasons that are obvious as well as variables that may not be as apparent. The current environment of 2020 has pushed all industries to the brink, and none have been more negatively impacted than the business of healthcare. Treating patients for a new potentially deadly virus while adjusting operating procedures and overall management processes is analogous to inflight refueling of fighter jets cruising at 500 mph approximately 4-5 miles above the earth’s surface … it can be done but it takes great precision and skill. And such has been the case with healthcare organizations around the nation and the globe. Many challenging circumstances have forced healthcare leaders to make very tough decisions about the business of their organization, often including temporary or permanent reductions in both administrative and clinical staff.
But the need to engage and communicate with patients does not change. More than ever, hospitals and physician practices should strive to connect with patients before, during and after an episode of care. Why? Patients are people. People are customers.And customers in healthcare want to have assurance and high confidence in their selection of services. After all, those services address the most valuable need of everyone – personal health and well-being. The need to connect with patients – or people – has never been greater. It pays to talk to patients for soft benefits and improved financial performance. With regular communications and active engagement from care providers, patients will overwhelmingly show greater loyalty and improved satisfaction. Equally important with more governance toward value-based healthcare, the financial benefits of ongoing patient communications can significantly impact performance of healthcare organizations.
Patient communications initiatives should be contemplated at many touchpoints between care providers and individual patients. Physicians can stimulate office visits and regular annual wellness visits through innovative virtual visit technology. In the in-patient environment, hospitals and attending physicians should have a structured communications program to inform patients about wait times in the emergency department, the activities leading up to a procedure, the recovery plan and expectations, and of course timely, relevant follow-up upon discharge to ensure transitions to normal routines for a return to well-being. From such a communications program, improved satisfaction combined with reduced readmissions will drive financial incentives offered under enhanced CMS programs. In contrast, poor performance in satisfaction and readmissions will also drive negative penalties toward healthcare systems already under significant pressures from very challenging circumstances.
There are many ways to communicate with patients. And there are many viable reasons to establish a strong patient communications program, much of which is centered around improved patient satisfaction in their care providers and facilities, which in turns drives personal confidence.
It does – in fact – pay to talk to patients. Contact PREMEDEX to learn how we can help your team connect with patients based on their needs and your needs too.