How Whiteboards Enhance Communication Throughout “The Patient Journey”

Dec 28, 2020

mri machine

The patient journey is filled with touchpoints and vital conversations between patients and providers, many of which can have a critical influence on the outcome of the treatment and the patient’s perception of the care they have received. Since treatment outcomes and patient’s perception of their care are generally the two largest factors in patient satisfaction surveys, this makes communication between patients and providers one of the most important parts of the patient journey.  

As an integral part of effective communication, hospital whiteboards can act as a guide throughout a patient’s journey. They can be used to provide a consistent and comforting stream of information to patients from the moment they step into a facility to the time they are discharged. 

Starting with Pretreatment 

Pretreatment is often an anxiety-inducing time for patients. Whether they are prepping for surgery or awaiting any type of invasive procedure, they will naturally have a lot of questions that need to be answered and concerns that need to be addressed.  

Providers can use patient room whiteboards to explain and provide detailed background information on the test, procedure, or surgery that the patient will be facing. This can include the reasoning behind it, the preparation that needs to be taken before it, the possible outcomes, the risks, and anything else that will be pertinent to the upcoming event. This can help clear out a lot of the uncertainty felt by patients, which can alleviate their anxiety and increase their confidence in the care they are receiving. 

Using Whiteboards During or Right After Treatment 

During treatment—while in between procedures or throughout a lengthy hospital stay—patients can experience any number of stressors that include anxiety, pain, nausea, fatigue, and even depression. These feelings, through no fault of the providers, can result in lower HCAHPS scores because patients associate them with the quality of their stay. When left to persist, they can even delay the healing process and result in less successful treatment outcomes. 

Providers can use patient whiteboards to communicate what can be expected throughout a hospital stay, while in between procedures and tests, and immediately after treatment (or while in recovery). When patients understand what they should be feeling and why, they are less likely to use pain, nausea, and other normal post-treatment symptoms as reasons to be dissatisfied with their care. Patients who are prepared for what they should be feeling will more likely accept them as a normal part of the procedure. Providers can record what should and should not be experienced on patient room whiteboards so that patients can refer to this information at any time during their stay. 

Post Treatment 

Once patients leave a facility, what happens next can be out of the hands of providers. However, negative experiences post-treatment can still have an effect on patient satisfaction, which is why it’s incumbent on providers to prepare patients with as much information as possible before they leave the facility. This can not only increase patient satisfaction, it can also go a long way in reducing readmissions after discharge. 

Before discharge, doctors and nursing staff can go over post-treatment information once more with patients using the whiteboard before giving them a hard copy of the information to take home with them. 

 

Don’t let patient communication take a back seat during the patient journey. Invest in customizable communication whiteboards today! 

 

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