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What is Patient Experience and Why Is It Important?

5 minute read | 19/03/2024

What is Patient Experience and Why Is It Important?

Patient experience is often referred to as a pillar of healthcare success. It ensures patients' expectations are met in the healthcare setting, improving the quality of care and recovery rates. 

But what is patient experience? More importantly, what does it offer for providers and patients? And why should every facility focus on this all-important metric?

We explain it all in this blog:

  1. What is patient experience?
  2. Why is patient experience important?
  3. The goal and benefit of patient experience
  4. Achieving patient experience


What is patient experience?

Patient experience refers to the improvement of the physical experience of a patient during admission and the positive impact on the events that follow by empowering patients through education.

Patient experience encourages patients to be actively involved in their care by better understanding their diagnosis and accountability for what happens next. 

From a practitioner's perspective, this is achieved through patient-centred care, which promotes compassionate and effective communication to reduce readmission rates, increase patient engagement and support patient morale.

Some confuse patient experience with patient satisfaction. While the two go hand in hand — an improved patient experience usually results in greater patient satisfaction — the two are inherently different.

Patient satisfaction is more temporary, relating to the advocation of experience around specialised care, entertainment and food provisions. 

Patient experience goes deeper, relating to long-lasting comprehension of diagnosis and treatment.


Why is patient experience important?

Patient experience holds significant importance in healthcare for various reasons. Firstly, it directly correlates with the quality of care patients receive. A positive patient experience often aligns with higher-quality care, fostering trust, communication and collaboration between patients and healthcare providers. 

When patients feel valued and respected during their interactions, they're more likely to adhere to treatment plans and engage actively in their healthcare, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.

Patient satisfaction is closely linked to their overall experience within the healthcare system. Positive experiences contribute to higher levels of patient satisfaction, which can have far-reaching effects on patient retention, loyalty and advocacy. Satisfied patients are more likely to return for future care and recommend their providers to others.

Building trust and rapport between patients and Trusts is another critical aspect of patient experience. Patients who have positive experiences in hospital, trust healthcare providers' expertise and feel more comfortable sharing their concerns and preferences. 

This trust forms the foundation for effective communication, shared decision-making and person centred care, ultimately leading to better healthcare outcomes.

Patient experience plays a vital role in promoting patient engagement and compliance. When patients feel supported and empowered in their healthcare journey, they are more likely to participate actively in their care, follow treatment recommendations and adhere to prescribed medications and lifestyle changes.

This active involvement can lead to better management of chronic conditions and improved overall health outcomes.

From a strategic perspective, patient experience also offers a competitive advantage to Trusts. In today's consumer-driven healthcare landscape, patients have more choices when selecting healthcare providers.

Healthcare organisations prioritising patient experience can differentiate themselves by delivering exceptional care, attracting new patients, and retaining existing ones.

The goal and benefits of patient experience

Patient experience is a primary goal for every Trust and healthcare facility nationwide. It can profoundly impact healthcare outcomes, create efficiencies, preserve resources, limit healthcare service utilisation and ease workloads.

But what else can patient experience offer?


Patient experience reduces the likelihood of readmission 

While the data isn't published regularly, the latest being in 2022, NHS readmission rates increased to 15.5% throughout the 2020/21 period compared to 14.4% throughout 2019/20. 

Readmission rates are a metric every Trust focuses on to conserve resources and improve patient health. Through proper education and understanding of rehabilitation, patient experience can effectively reduce readmission rates.


Patient experience supports patient safety

While practitioners can oversee patient safety throughout a hospital stay, the patient is responsible for safely rehabilitating an injury or condition after discharge.

Patient experience can create a safer transition from hospital to home by filling patients with the confidence and knowledge to manage their diagnosis.


Patient experience promotes patient morale

For patients with severe conditions and long recovery periods, patient experience can play an essential role in helping patients come to terms with disease or injury, increasing their capacity to live with long-term changes to their health.

With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a common mental health problem each year, the mental benefit of improved experience can't be overlooked. Now more than ever, healthcare practitioners need to prioritise and recognise the psychological impact of physical conditions and do everything they can to combat this.


Achieving patient experience

Patient experience is something to set your sights on as a healthcare practitioner, and everyone can play a part. Join forces with SPARK TSL to improve the patient experience together through digital transformation, education and entertainment. 

Learn more about the patient experience and how to improve it by visiting our dedicated page.

75% of patients want digital healthcare services

So let’s work together to give it to them, all while optimising NHS processes.

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