Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) allow providers to track patient data over time, identify patients who need preventative visits and screenings, and monitor how they measure against health guidelines. In so doing, EMRs can help to improve quality of the medical experience. But EMRs are only one piece of a much bigger and more important effort – true, attentive care for the whole human.
With gathering, tracking, and monitoring the experiences of patients as they prepare for and emerge from a clinic experience, healthcare providers can gain a more complete knowledge of patient needs and wellness. You may be able to assess your patient impact by looking at the waiting room and talking with patients. Double check. How many of these questions can you answer quickly and with certainty?
- Do you capture important information about the patient prior to their appointment or do you wait until they arrive?
- Are patients reminded to bring ID and their payment and insurance forms?
- Do you gauge how the patient feels or whether they have active symptoms – and then place them accordingly?
- How long did it take a patient to locate the department they needed, from the moment they entered your facility?
- How many different service touchpoints does each patient experience on a given day?
- How long do patients typically wait for each kind of service?
- How long does each service actually take?
- How long does it take each nurse, doctor, or other provider to complete a patient interaction?
It’s fair to guess that most healthcare providers chose their career path out of a desire to heal, which is why it’s ironic that so many of these very human details get missed. To drive home the point, let’s revisit the questions from the standpoint of a parent who is visiting a clinic with an ill child.
“The clinic does a good job with the moment of care, but they’ve neglected to collect or employ many details of the patient journey.”
It would be so nice if I could fill out our appointment details before I arrive, so I don’t have to juggle a bunch of forms and my sick child. It’s not easy to get to the check-in desk, and the longer it takes, the more upset my child gets – especially when he’s not feeling well.
We didn’t wait long before the nurse saw us, but then it seems like we waited for an hour in the exam room. Because I’ve been here before, I was prepared with a story to occupy my child for as long as needed. The doctor was attentive and kind. She took her time with my child. It was a professional process, but we felt like an entry on a to-do list. Each time we come to this clinic, we set aside a few hours. Sometimes an appointment takes 30 minutes. Sometimes it takes over an hour. We just never know. The main reason we keep coming here is because the clinic located convenient to our house.
"Every detail of the patient journey is recorded, and the data is used to improve the whole care experience."
As soon as I made the appointment, the doctor’s office emailed me our forms so I could fill them out and submit them ahead of our visit. It saves me time, and I know they’re ready for us when we arrive. There are signs in the entry that direct us right to the clinic – it’s quick and low-stress. That’s good because my child fears the doctor’s office.
An efficient receptionist checked us in, then a nurse weighed my child and put us in the exam room. She told us it would be about 10 minutes before we would see the doctor. Sure enough, in about 10 minutes, the doctor came in. She was attentive and kind. We keep coming here because the pediatricians, nurses, and support staff put my child at ease, and that puts me at ease.
I can count on an appointment taking about an hour, from arrival to check-out. It doesn’t take the whole day, and I am glad to know my child will feel better sooner than later.
So much of the patient experience happens outside of the exam room. By considering how each step makes a patient feel, clinics can ask the right questions, track the right data, and engage the right steps to create a truly good care experience.
Qmatic helps clinics and providers understand and structure every step in the care experience. We can help you gather and use data to spot improvement opportunities and help your staff create the best possible outcome for each patient.