The Patient Journey, Technology, and the Waiting Room
As a recap in case you missed the beginning of this series, a patient journey map has two lines. One line is the patient’s expected level of satisfaction. This is the base level of expectation of what they feel a normal patient experience entails. The second line contours the experience itself. This line typically goes up and down throughout the patient journey, many times above the level of expectation, and many times dropping below gradually, or sometimes suddenly before returning. These are called cliffs, and many times the patient careens off of these cliffs into a ravine of dissatisfaction.
The patient journey through the Waiting Room can be full of these cliffs. However, through the use of some innovative healthcare technology, those valleys can be bridges, assuring increased patient satisfaction.
Cliff One: Wait Times
Ask anyone about their worst healthcare experience and it is almost assured that you will hear them mention wait times. ERs across the country are overcrowded and their talented professionals are stretched to their limits daily. There is one very simple piece of technology that can make a huge dent in wait times and that is video teleconferencing, (VTC). Video teleconferencing can be implemented in a couple of ways to relieve ERs, Urgent Care facilities, and even PCP offices of overcrowded waiting rooms. The first way is to utilize VTC is to utilize it in lieu of an in-person visit. Facilities that have VTC can set up hotlines for patients considering coming into the facility to call beforehand, potentially allowing them to receive the care they need remotely. Given that an increasing amount of visits to the ER and Urgent care are actually not emergencies or even urgent, this would help relieve a large part of the burden. A licensed provider can make themselves available to discuss symptoms while looking up the patient’s health history via electronic health records, to potentially deliver treatment remotely and call in prescriptions, etc if appropriate. The second way to use VTC is for patients to utilize it in the facility itself. For those coming into the ER or Urgent Care facilities, upon check-in, they may be offered a remote visit with a physician depending on the severity of their symptoms. In this case, they would be offered a private room where a VTC system would be utilized to talk to a physician remotely from the ER itself, decreasing the patient’s wait time as well as keeping physician resources and exam rooms free for patients who do have emergencies, decreasing their wait times as well. Given these patients are onsite at medical facilities, remote sensors can also be used in these consultations to transmit vitals and other biometric data to the licensed professional so that they may assure accurate diagnosis and course of treatment.
Cliff Two: Referral to Specialists
Many times a patient waits for hours to see a physician in the ER or Urgent Care, only to find that what is ailing them is better addressed by a specialist. That specialist may be booked for some time depending on their particular practice, delaying the patient’s journey toward wellness and sending them off the cliff of uncertainty while awaiting that appointment. Again, through the use of a VTC system, the facility could offer the patient a specialist referral remotely via video conference as a way to get an initial assessment of the patient’s health. An in-person appointment may still be appropriate, but the initial consultation can go a long way to put the patient’s mind at ease, giving them some idea of the severity of their situation and not negatively affecting their patient journey. As a provider, these may seem like simple solutions, but the best ones typically are. Providing the patient with a path to talk to a remote healthcare professional face to face, whether they are at home or at one of your facilities, is the best way to assure that the waiting isn’t the hardest part.
Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.
Resources: https://www.google.com/search?q=JOurney+mapping&oq=JOurney+mapping&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3066j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 http://blog.avidex.com/the-ed-epidemic-and-what-to-do-about-it/ http://blog.avidex.com/the-wait-is-over-technology-and-the-continuum-of-care/