Choosing to place hospital whiteboards in patient rooms is an important step in improving communication with patients. Using them as communication boards to engage with patients and their family members is a completely different story. Too many facilities have whiteboards but do not know how to get the most out of them. While they do use them to place some amount of information on the board, care teams aren't always using them to engage with patients and their family members, which can be a surefire way to increase HCAHPS scores.
How can facilities and care teams increase patient engagement using their whiteboards? There are a few ways that experts agree can work.
Patient room boards are there to be used, so don't neglect them! Many physicians, nurses and other clinicians find that walking patients through the whiteboard every single day helps them to engage with the information that is being written on it. Whiteboards aren't a "write it and forget it" tool for delivering patient information. Care teams find these tips useful when using their whiteboards:
Doing these productive things on a daily basis will not only introduce patients to the whiteboard, it will encourage them to refer back to it for more information on their care and stay within the facility. Writing down information given by patients also lets them know that they are being listened to and understood.
Patient whiteboards are not like most other tools in a patient room; they are designed for patients to touch, use and interact with them. Both patients and their family members should be encouraged to read and use the whiteboards even when no physician or nurse is present. Encourage patients to write down concerns and questions when no one is around. They can then address them with a physician the next time they stop by. This will prevent patients who have concerns from forgetting them throughout the day and failing to address them when they see a physician.
Using whiteboards doesn't have to feel like an extra step for care team members or patients and family members. When they are used in tandem during conversations, the information will flow more naturally onto the board and it will feel like a natural part of the hospital workflow. The best way to achieve this natural flow is to have a whiteboard that is specifically designed for a facility, an area of the hospital, a healthcare practice, etc. When whiteboards are customized with a design (including information fields, etc.) that matches the specific needs of patients at a particular facility, they are much more likely to find them useful and engage with them. Nurses and physicians are also much more likely to use and update them as a normal part of the treatment process.
At VividBoard, we work with hospitals to help them design whiteboards that are custom made for their facility and their patients. We work closely with you to choose a design that will enhance how your team communicates with patients and their family members. Contact our team to learn more today.