As patient experience is so far-reaching with tentacles that touch seemingly every area of the healthcare landscape, it can sometimes be confused with other, patient-centric phrases, such as ‘patient satisfaction’. The difference between patient experience and patient satisfaction is distinct. While patient satisfaction indicates advocation and perception of experience, patient experience encompasses much more than this, including patient understanding and health outcomes.
Positive patient experiences put focus on obtaining education and understanding of a diagnosis. Patients that receive quality healthcare provisions while feeling confident and informed about the transition to self-management of a condition are the model for the level of patient experience every facility strives to achieve.
We know what good patient experience looks like — but the route to exceptional patient experience is continually repaved. As more patient experience data surfaces and new patient experience trends emerge, we’ll see innovation come to the rescue of specific challenges and make exceptional patient experience easier to achieve, analyse and replicate across hospital populations.
With the concept of patient experience being around as early as the 1980s, patient experience has gone through many iterations to form best practices, whether that be improving patient experience in hospitals, GP surgeries or elsewhere.
Improving patient experience has obvious benefits to the patient, but it also shows real promise to help Trusts and other facilities, even helping national services, such as the NHS save money. Improving patient experience in the NHS can be the difference between crucial capacity issues and budgets for transformative NHS projects.
Improvements should always be made with a safe and positive patient experience in mind. For a long time, changes have been approached with patient surveys at the forefront, using feedback to improve service levels. This is still a valid and common way to make valuable alterations to the patient experience. Yet, thanks to new advancements, there are now countless ways to improve patient experience — most using technology.
WiFi SPARK acquires Hospedia: Is this the end of legacy patient entertainment? discusses an important patient experience infrastructure. Hospedia terminals are present in almost every NHS Trust in the UK, giving patients a way to engage in entertainment and several other applications that impact the overall patient experience. A service that’s currently paid and under scrutiny for its expense, WiFi SPARK is embarking on an ambitious journey to make these legacy systems free to all by as early as 2024.
A key component of patient experience is patient involvement. The more involved patients are in their experience, the more in control, empowered and educated patients feel, helping positively impact long-term outcomes and protect precious hospital resources.
Patient-centred care champions this. It puts the patient’s comprehension, response and preferences in the spotlight, surpassing outdated attitudes which only consider the clinical effectiveness of care in the moment.
With patient-centred care, individuals can have an impact during and after treatment. From small adjustments like attention to detail during meal ordering to more serious matters like understanding a diagnosis or a new prescription.
Patient-centred care can be implemented just by expanding the practitioner’s vision to regard patient’s in a holistic sense, including their emotional and physical state. But this contemporary take on healthcare is most often delivered with the help of technology.
Technology can help patients order meals directly from their device; it can facilitate entire libraries of educational resources and even provide a platform for stimulating patient experience games, which play a large role in raising morale while having been shown to slow deterioration in cognitive disorder diagnoses such as dementia.
Patient experience is as much a collaborative affair between patient and practitioner as it’s a partnership between healthcare and commercial providers. Integrated care sees all hands on deck to provide expertise and opportunity for patient experience to thrive.
When all parties are included and given the power they need to influence patient experience, the benefits extend to everybody. The NHS staff engagement strategy is an apt example. It goes beyond patient experience to consider how staff morale might impact experience.
The involvement of stakeholders and the linear path a patient takes is outlined in an activity named patient journey mapping. More and more, patient journey mapping is becoming dynamic, digitally inclusive and evermore aligned with patient expectations.
WiFi SPARK’s Special Interest Group (SIG) was created with a mission in mind: to provide a platform for people passionate about patient experience. As part of the Special Interest Group (SIG), you’ll shape the conversation surrounding positive experience by simply talking, finding commonalities across UK facilities and reimagining opportunities for innovation. The group can be used as a way to stand in solidarity with your peers, to find inspiration, to benefit from exclusive perks and even act as a sounding board when you have worries regarding patient experience.
From its inception, patient experience has proven important. Consistent, positive patient experience is an indication of gold-standard healthcare and as a metric, it remains one of the only ways we can quantify the true effectiveness of the healthcare system — not just in terms of immediate treatment but in how proficient healthcare facilities are at equipping patients to handle diagnosis and everything that comes after it.
Patient experience has been important in the past, is important now and will continue to be important in the future.
What’s more, technology has an important role to play in helping facilities maintain relevance when it comes to patient experience, so no matter when we reference patient experience, it feels applicable to the current patient population. Whether it’s designing remote tools for contact-free services or developing interfaces for patients to use in healthcare settings, technology meets the immediate needs of the healthcare customer.
Technology has already driven patient experience to this point through the provision of hospital entertainment systems among many other innovations that redefine the equipment we use, provide and rely on.
Patient experience tools don’t equal patient experience, but they help us deliver experience in a way that meets the patient’s expectations. The UK’s hospital TV packages are a great example of this, constantly undergoing updates to match the state-of-the-art entertainment we’ve all become accustomed to.
Patient experience is more than just a concept or a key performance indicator (KPI). It’s the heart of healthcare
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