Mar 31, 2021
Perception is reality. While this concept may be debated among philosophers, healthcare professionals see day after day its importance to patient satisfaction. A patient’s perception of their care, both medically and in terms of hospitality, often trumps reality. A patient may receive quality care, but it’s their perception of that care that is more important. In the end, it’s not the quality of care the patient receives that matters, it’s their patient satisfaction scores, which are entirely dependent upon their perception of their care.
If healthcare professionals want to improve patient satisfaction scores, which are crucial to a facility’s reputation and the reimbursements it receives from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, they must address patient perception of care as much as the quality of the care itself.
Patients have a “relationship” with their providers, and the key to those relationships is communication. How physicians, nurses, and care teams communicate with patients can fundamentally alter the patient’s perception of their care. This communication also extends to a patient’s family and friends: people who can have a significant impact on a patient’s perception of their care. More in-depth and informative communication has a higher chance of resulting in satisfied patients.
There are multiple ways to enhance communication. One of the most permanent and cost-effective is using patient room whiteboards. These communication tools are widely recognized as valuable aids in patient communication and have been linked to increases in HCAHPS scores. This is in part because they help manage a patient’s perception of the care they receive.
There are several areas of care where patients can perceive a facility to be lacking. These areas include:
- Managing patient goals and expectations
- Introducing new care team members
- Next steps in treatment
- Treatment timelines
All of these can be boiled down to how well the care team communicates with the patient. The hospital may be providing exceptional care, but the patient can perceive this care to be lacking if they do not understand what they are supposed to be doing, what will come next, who they are working with, and what the facility is trying to accomplish.
All these perception issues can be addressed with thorough communication using a whiteboard placed within a patient’s room. Providers can use the whiteboards to communicate patient goals, upcoming treatment information, the names of providers, and much more. This information provides value to a patient and can help alter their perception of their care. They feel more in tune with what is happening to them during their stay, they feel more informed about their care, and they will know what they can expect in the future. Nothing has to change regarding the actual healthcare they receive, it’s simply their perception that improves.
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