Real time patient monitoring system at a destination healthcare facility
Dr. Chandy Abraham has extensive experience of working in both clinical as well as academic settings in India and the United Kingdom and is currently Chief Executive Officer, Medical Director. Dr. Chandy is a “lead surveyor” for the “National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare organisations,” the Indian accreditation agency which works for ensuring quality in the healthcare sector.
Dr. Vinit Raj, Quality Officer, A Certified Healthcare Quality Professional with a Masters in Hospital Administration and over 9 years of experience in healthcare quality. He has successfully completed 8 Joint Commission International surveys for the hospitals in India, Middle East and North America. He has completed a Certificate Program on Patient Safety and Quality from National Association for Health Care Quality & Harvard Medical School USA.
The era of technology and digitization has been a catalyst for all the improvements in the healthcare industry. It has bridged the communication gap between healthcare providers and patients and it has been the driving force for better and more accessible treatment, improved patient care and efficiency.
Patient satisfaction is of paramount importance. And this article speaks about our journey of improving the patient feedback system and response rates in order to address the needs of the patient in real time.
Digital survey tools are nothing special in the business world, but they are the new tool in the healthcare system still burdened with paper. Traditional paper-based surveys— usually used by a subset of patients often yield feedback from less than 10 percent of the patient population, can be subject to transcriber error and typically do not provide timely or statistically reliable data.
Patient experience has become an increasingly important component in the assessment of healthcare systems worldwide. The measurement of patient experience is important because it provides an opportunity to establish benchmarks and to monitor the performance of health care organizations, to improve care, to enhance strategic decision making, to pay attention to patients’ expectations and to make healthcare organizations more transparent and accountable to their local populations.
With the evolution of digital applications, such as app-based surveys and touchscreen kiosks we choose to move away from the paper based surveys to a digital methodology to measure patient experiences real time and act on it quickly.
Paper Patient Survey forms
Six months ago,we were worried as we were not getting the desired response rates of patient surveys and we were spending lot of time in analyzing the results and the time consuming step of segmenting and sending the results to the concerned department. It was difficult and time consuming to keep a track of the complaints and also patients were not very keen to fill a paper feedback form. Of course, one of major drawbacks in a fledgling but growing organization is that the data was retrospective and helped with system changes but did nothing for the patients while a commitment to excellence in the hospital, our top management and the board decided to digitize this process as a way to manage the patient complaints efficiently.
From the end of last year, Health City Cayman Islands started managing the Patient satisfaction surveys and feedback digitally with the help of an App to capture real time patient experience and to act on patient concerns quickly.
Touchscreen kiosks were placed in strategic locations of the hospital with a message for the patients to use problem occurred.
Time consuming to analyze the results
Being a new organization and also working on the principles of lean management, our customer care manager does multitasking and collecting the surveys every week, analyzing it and sending it to respective departments did consume a good chunk of time.
Moving to Digital Patient satisfaction Surveys
As patient satisfaction is one of the key components of our all-round the feedback system and also surveys were given to Inpatients at the time of discharge using tablet computers.
Emailing Survey links to the patients:
To capture the unbiased feedback we also started sending the survey link to all the patients via emails and the links were directly merged with the kiosk survey responses.
This system help edour team to analyze patient feedback instantly and accurately, eliminating the use of paper and long wait times for results to be analyzed. Furthermore, it has encouraged more participation from patients.
Real time feedback
The digital system has helped us to see the responses in real time on the dashboards of the heads of departments which helps them act on the concerns in quick time.
Better Patient experience
Majority of the patients are tech savvy these days and they feel comfortable to use the kiosk compared to the paper forms.
Quick action on complaints
All heads of the departments have access to the feedback dashboards on their computers and they can see the complaints real time which has helped with action on complaints quickly.
The assigned tasks and the status of the action taken is also available on the dashboards.
The Quality manager assigns the task to the concerned departments for all low rating feedback.
Studies in several countries suggest that healthcare managers and clinicians often struggle to link patient experience data to local improvement initiatives. Robert et al. found that appointing a champion or leader on patient experience resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of patient experience research and in the ability of organizations to act on the results.
Track the progress
The dashboard has a section to see all the assigned tasks and the status of the task. The concerned department has to complete the task by taking corrective actions like speaking to the patients and taking necessary actions.
Email alerts for low ratings
We get emails for all the low rating feedback and also daily, weekly and monthly summary of the responses.
Reduced time in analyzing the results
The system automatically analyze the results and it takes two less than minutes to get the detailed summary of the results.
Net Promotors Scores
The system automatically calculates the net promotors scores which is consider more relevant in assessing the patient’s satisfaction level.
Many hospitals have adopted digitized patient feedback systems and continually gauging patient satisfaction and using the digital feedback system to build on quality improvement initiatives will help demonstrate a commitment to patient-centred care and improve the overall healthcare experience.
Digital survey data can be captured automatically and downloaded quickly without transcription error thereby saving time, reducing costs, and maximizing data accuracy.
For those patients who are not tech savvy, the staff can help the patient by using the paper survey forms and feed the data into the digital system.
As with paper surveys, digital surveys need to be designed well to be usable in practice and acting on the feedback and communicating the actions to patients is best service recovery method which every hospitals should strive for.
Currently, we are working towards increasing the response rate by creating awareness campaigns with posters informing patients of surveys and by increasing the frequency of emails with the survey links to the patients.
NLCAHR July 2016 | Rapid Evidence
Report: The Effectiveness of Digital Surveys for Patient Feedback
Robert G, Cornell, J. Bearley, S.et al. “What matters to patients?” Developing the evidence base for measuring and improving patient experience. Project Report for the Department of Health and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. 2011.
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