When defining quality patient care, the healthcare industry says this is giving a patient what they need at the time of their need. It also means providing services at a cost the patient can afford, in a space that is safe and confidential.
Quality patient care also refers to finding ways to get the patient to get involved in their own treatment. This can mean making lifestyle changes to support your treatment plan and following through with your treatment plan.
The World Health Organization further adds that quality patient care improves the health of the patient and does not discriminate based on race, age, sex or any other characteristic.
Knowing the definition of quality patient care is just a beginning step. Below are additional steps you can take to ensure quality patient care in your practice.
Quality patient care can be improved by making your services patient-centered. Take a look at your services from the perspective of your patients. From the moment they enter your office, what experience does your patient have?
Evaluate everything from the waiting room environment, wait times, communication while waiting, interactions with staff and satisfaction after meeting with you. If improvements need to be made to make the patient happier, don’t waste time changing.
Improve Safety of Patients
Safety in quality patient care means making sure the services you provide to help a patient do not cause them harm. There are several patient-centered tips you can incorporate to improve safety. Allowing patients to have access to their clinical data, including the notes you write.
Patients can review their own information and may notice information that could improve their patient care. They may notice they forgot to give you important health information. They may notice an error that could lead to unsafe care.
Errors happen. Pharmacy errors are increasing daily and patients are being negatively affected. If a patient is given the wrong medication, or the right medication but at the wrong dose, the consequences can be fatal.
One way to avoid these types of errors is to dispense medications at the point of care. Meaning, you provide the prescribed medicine to your patients before they leave your office the day of their appointment. This eliminates the pharmacy and the potential errors, making your patients safer.
Become More Effective
Effective quality patient care means you provide the services that have advantages that far outweigh any disadvantages. Any patient that needs a service should receive it. It also means avoiding providing services to those who do not need treatment. Don’t overtreat and don’t undertreat.
There are strategies you can implement to provide more effective quality care to patients. For starters, improve your diagnostic skills and technology. The top reason for malpractice claims is due to diagnostic error. Get what you need, training and technology, to help you improve patient evaluation. The better you can assess a patient, the more accurate your diagnosis will be.
Provide the best treatment planning experience by gaining options for care. Make treatment plans individual to the patient since no two patients are the same.
Meet the needs of your staff. The better equipped your staff, the better they can do a good job. They will also be more satisfied and have a happier attitude, which can also influence the patient-centered experience.
Meeting the needs of your patients is easier when you begin dispensing in-office. The software provided streamlines staff duties, simplifying and organizing their duties, from check-in and check-out, to entering stats, to recording notes.
Finally, it’s important that patient care does not end when they are discharged from their visit. Follow-up with patients on an on-going basis to see how they are progressing.
Reduce Waiting Time
As a physician, you may think quality patient care only refers to the services you provide in your office. But there are other aspects to care of patients that can hinder or enhance their experience. The amount of time the patient must wait to see you is one of these factors.
If you cannot reduce the waiting time by much, then improve the waiting experience for the patient. Make sure they are greeted when they enter your office. Your staff should update them on their wait time frequently and engage them when possible.
Provide luxuries for your patients like television, reading materials, and play areas for children. Provide coffee and refreshments.
Make the patient feel special while they are waiting.
Efficiency refers to avoiding waste. This can be waste of supplies, resources, money and time. To improve efficiency in your practice, make sure the staff you hire are doing the jobs best fit for them. Don’t assign an administrative task to a registered nurse, for example. Delegate duties based on the strengths of your staff.
You can also find ways to streamline administrative tasks to avoid too much paperwork. Use software, such as the programs that come with in-office dispensing programs, that reduce paperwork and make the jobs of your front office staff much easier. From one system, staff and patients can communicate better.
Dispensing at the point of care is one more way to become more efficient and increase patient satisfaction. It can also help you become more equitable in your services.
Become More Equitable
Becoming more equitable in patient quality care means that you provide services to all patients in need of care. You don’t make them wait for services. It also means you provide services in their primary language, respectful of different cultures.
Becoming more equitable means you serve all patients, underprivileged to privileged. It means the type of insurance they have, or how they pay, is not a factor in providing good care to someone in need.
In conclusion, these are steps you can start improving today so that you are ensuring quality patient care in your practice.
Your goal is to improve the lives of patients. It makes sense you would want to become more equitable, efficient, safe, convenient and patient-centered.