The healthcare industry’s shift to a value-based care model has many hospital leaders scrambling to find ways to increase patient satisfaction and, in turn, raise scores on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys. An advanced nurse call technology is a great multi-pronged solution. According to a 2017 article in Health Facilities Management, the “latest advances in nurse communication systems enable streamlined, customized communication among patients, clinicians and caregivers to enhance patient satisfaction and improve quality of care.”
The healthcare market is competitive. As consumers take more control of their healthcare decisions, they’re being more selective in who they choose to provide care and where they go to receive it. That’s why it is more important than ever for hospitals to focus on improving the patient experience. Hospitals that produce higher patient experience scores are more successful than hospitals that don’t.
Nurses are undeniably the backbone of the hospital. For the last 16 years, nursing has held the highest position on Gallup’s annual survey of the public’s trust in occupation—high above positions such as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and bankers. And that trust is well-deserved: nurses tend to patients’ wounds, administer medications, educate patients about medical tests and treatments, celebrate births and remarkable recoveries, and provide comfort for those facing disappointing news or hard decisions.
As reimbursement models reward or penalize hospitals based on patient experience, healthcare organizations are more focused on the experience they’re providing patients.
Hospitals are noisy environments—just ask any nurse how many bells, whistles and alarms they hear during a 12-hour shift. Depending on the hospital unit, the number of alarms per patient per day can reach several hundred, resulting in thousands of alarm signals on every unit and tens of thousands throughout the hospital every day, according to the Joint Commission.
The compliment would be a crowning achievement for any healthcare facility: “We have a hospital closer to us, but we heard how good they are at Morgan Memorial, so we decided to go there instead. I am so glad we did!” – A patient at Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH).
Such a statement from a patient is especially important for Morgan Memorial Hospital. Not so long ago, patients might have driven in the opposite direction instead of going out of their way to reach the Madison, Georgia facility.
Topics: Patient Experience
We were recently touched by a video taken at Vanderbilt University Medical Center here in Nashville that showed a young nurse singing to her dying patient. The video, which was posted to Facebook by the patient’s family and viewed millions of times, spoke volumes about the comfort and compassion the best nurses bring to their patients. In the video, the nurse looks intently into her patient’s eyes, reassuring her with a smile and caressing her hand while singing one of her favorite songs to her.
Walk into any hospital, and you’re likely see its mission statement somewhere, whether in marketing images in the lobby or posted to walls in patient rooms or staff lounges. While each hospital has its own objectives, most are guided by the desire to provide the best, most compassionate care to patients during their hospital stay. Despite their best intentions and efforts, many hospitals find themselves falling short of this goal more often than they would like as staffing shortages, inefficiencies and communication breakdowns get in the way.
An effective nurse must have excellent clinical skills and knowledge—but that’s not all. Nurses are able to provide the highest level of care when they have the soft skills required to work well with other healthcare team members and deliver compassionate, focused care to their patients.
Technology has given consumers more freedom than ever over how they make decisions, purchase services, and interact with businesses—and they take this perspective with them wherever they go, even to the hospital. Patients don’t stop being consumers as soon as they put on a hospital gown.