Keep Patient Satisfaction High at Bedside and Discharge

     

Part 3 of Access’s Improving your Hospital’s HCAHPS Score Strategy series

Last week we looked at the first step on a winning HCAHPS strategy—creating a positive first impression by trading stacks of paper registration forms for electronic, tablet-enabled versions your patients can more easily complete and sign. It’s an important starting point that can potentially improve HCAHPS survey results (and the up to 2% of total Medicare reimbursement tied to them) but how can you continue this momentum throughout the patient journey?

Once you’ve registered the patient and captured their signed admissions packet, it’s vital you live up to the expectations you’ve set for the remainder of the patient care experience.

Simplifying consents at the bedside

Let’s look at some subsequent touchpoints between hospital staff and the patient, and see how we can optimize these interactions as effectively as the registration step. One such interaction typically takes place at the bedside, and often involves obtaining patient consents. Traditionally, this involves a nurse or physician presenting the patient with a multi-page, pre-printed form attached to a clipboard. The patient must fill in a lot of the same information they’ve already provided and then sign each page. This is a frustrating and redundant experience, particularly for returning patients who have chronic conditions that require frequent visits to your facility.

We’ve seen many hospitals attempt to extend the same eSignature process used in registration to the bedside. While this makes sense in theory, in the real world, this often proves to be impractical without reconsidering the technology involved. Why is this? While LCDs may be okay in the registration environment, it’s another story when you try attaching a cumbersome LCD device to a Workstation on Wheels (WoW), and handing this LCD device to the patient.  If we put ourselves in the patient’s shoes, we can see how this process is less than ideal.

Fortunately, there is another way to eliminate the paper and introduce eSignature at the bed-side that enhances the patient experience and keeps those HCHAPS scores intact.   Implementing a tablet-based eSignature solution, which presents intuitive electronic forms patients instantly recognize and understand is ideal. Patients can view the form in its entirety and simply us their finger or a stylus to check boxes, annotate on body images (such as on MRI Questionnaires to indicate where metal is located in the body), and electronically sign the forms. There is no redundant, frustrating data entry. You eliminate the paper inefficiencies and simplify the care experience at the same time. 

Discharge: Another opportunity to impress

You can extend the positive ripple effect of tablet-based electronic signatures to any paper-driven process or form. One compelling use case is patient discharge instructions. This applies to one of the main HCAHPS categories, which asks individuals to rate the information they were given regarding continuation of care once they leave the hospital.

Using an eForms system enables you to personalize such instructions based on the patient’s unique situation, rather than handing them a generic instruction sheet—as is often the case with pre-printed forms. This increases consistency and also removes legibility issues with handwritten notes. You can also ensure each patient acknowledges receipt of such instructions by capturing their electronic signature at this step.

By extending tablet-based eForms and eSignatures to bedside consents and discharge documents, you can deliver on the patient’s expectations at each point along their journey and position your facility for consistently high HCAHPS marks.

Check back soon for part 4 in this series when we’ll look at how to improve HCAHPS scores by extending patient satisfaction beyond the walls of your hospital.

 

About The Author - Cody Strate

For more than 10 years, Cody has helped healthcare organizations worldwide eliminate the costs and risks of paper through e-forms and e-signature solutions. In addition to helping others achieve their paperless goals, Cody finds time to put his biochemistry degree to work in the kitchen testing out new recipes on his unsuspecting family.

Feel free to email me here.