The average no-show rate for appointments in US hospitals is 30% and as anxiety grows at the prospect of visiting a hospital during a pandemic, institutions need to respond by putting in place measures and technology that ensure patient safety.
Now more than ever, ensuring that patients attend appointments is vital for:
- Controlling the spread of infection
- A true reflection of US COVID numbers
- Diagnosing and treating patients
- Ensuring that other health risks aren’t overseen
ABC News recently reported on the growing number of patients who aren’t actively seeking out other treatments or turning away organ donors, due to the anxiety and uncertainty of entering a hospital treating COVID-19 patients.
Stress and anxiety have such an adverse effect on the way humans make rational and simple decisions and thought processes. Medical professionals are now sounding the alarm on what some have characterized as a silent storm brewing and a crisis within a crisis.
Patients with critical illnesses and symptoms stay home for fear of going to an emergency room and contracting the coronavirus.
Most hospitals and outpatient clinics have made changes designed to keep patients and staff members safe.
Dr. Stephen Klasko, chief executive of Jefferson Health, a 14-hospital system based in Philadelphia said:
“Our goal is to spend almost all our marketing dollars over the next year around the safety of our institution,” during an interview about patient safety and coronavirus concern.”
Covid-19 patients are kept in separate units in most hospitals with clear signage and updated wayfinding methods.
How US healthcare institutions can improve their overall safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
Reassure and communicate with patients regularly
Good communication helps patients/clients to feel in control as It’s easy/common for people to feel that they give up all control of their lives once they enter the healthcare system.
Now patients have the added “threat” of a virus, clear and regular communication between the provider and its patients are likely to reduce their anxiety.
There are many communication tools businesses can use to simplify communications such as Novocall’s lead distribution feature, which allocates inbound leads/calls to the most appropriate people in the businesses.
This can be based on languages spoken, role within the organization, skillset, etc.
This is done with the aim of reducing the response time to a query and improving the overall patient/customer experience by providing them with the most equipped person to answer any queries.
In a report by Redpoint, it highlighted that 60% of patients would visit their healthcare provider more often if they felt communication was personalized.
Control the flow of patients
Many hospitals across the country have started to take greater control over how their patients enter and exit their buildings, based on symptoms, severity, etc.
Purple’s client Brigham and Women’s Hospital has taken proactive measures to ensure the safety of their patients.
The world-renowned 793-bed teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School used its wayfinding management tool to control the patient journey and reduce the risk of potential contamination.
The hospital was able to do this by locking down points of entry in the main hospital’s wayfinding system.
Once complete, these updates are automatically pushed out to the wayfinding applications and its users to update any routes so that it no longer includes these entrances, taking away the need for human interaction when conveying the message.
Allow patients to stay in touch with family and friends.
Throughout America, hospitals are denying patient visits to ensure the control of the outbreak within their institutions.
Smartphones are a great way to stay in touch with loved ones through social media, video calls, and IM services like WhatsApp.
These technologies (especially video calling apps) use large amounts of data, quickly, causing an issue for the user/patient when it comes to 4G.
Having a stable, secure, and fast guest wifi connection is a must for 2020, with increased demand and the need for contactless technology everywhere.
Improve the quality of care beyond the examination room
Poor patient experience is a large contributing factor to why people choose not to go to a hospital.
A study by Gensler showed that 65% of those surveyed on healthcare provider satisfaction, rated the wayfinding at their facilities to be worse than the medical care provided.
All with the aim of taking the pressure off frontline medical staff, allowing them to focus on the delivery of care.