How Hospitals Are Addressing the Two Most Important Patient Needs

Dec 30, 2019

mri machine and patient

The patient has always been at the center of healthcare. The ways doctors, nurses and hospitals have approached treating patients has long been solely focused on treating them based on their condition. While this is still largely the case when it comes to patient treatment, hospitals are now focused more than ever on treating patient needs alongside their underlying conditions.

What’s meant by patient needs? What used to mean basic safety and care has slowly transformed into something greater. Patients now more than ever are being treated as guests in the hospital setting, meaning their comfort and satisfaction have been placed at a significantly higher level. While hospitals still treat them like patients first and foremost, hospitals are also seeking to boost HCAHPS score by catering to as many of their needs as possible.

These are the two most important patient needs that are changing how hospitals approach treatment.

#1: Communication

Proper communication is far and above the most important patient need that is shaping how hospitals treat patients. Healthcare is a patient-centered care industry, and everything from the design of a facility to how employees are trained is focused on better conveying information to patients during their stay.

Research has shown that patients need several things from a communication standpoint:

 

  • Trust: patients who have established trust will share more detailed medical history and are more likely to cooperate during treatment, among being more satisfied with their care.
  • Information: patients desire information during their hospital stay. They want to know what they are dealing with, what the future holds and how they can get better, quicker. It’s this need for information that has led to communication whiteboards being placed in patient rooms across the country.
  • Education: patients want to understand how they can help themselves throughout their stay and even after discharge. Research also shows that patients who are more educated have lower readmission rates to facilities.
  • Self-care and control: last but not least, patients want to feel like they have some measure of control over the entire process. They also want to be involved in their treatment as much as possible.

 

Without a consistent line of communication from doctors, nurses and other providers, patients are far less likely to be satisfied with their care or their stay in any facility.

#2: Comfort 

Second only to communication, a patient’s physical comfort is one of the most important aspects hospitals have come to address over the years, and this has primarily been accomplished through design changes in patient rooms. The most state-of-the-art patient rooms now resemble hotel rooms more than hospitals rooms of the past. A much greater emphasis has been placed on creating an environment conducive to privacy and comfort. These amenities are a big draw for patients, and they are important in a hospital’s marketing now that patients have greater access and more care choices than ever.

Since HCAPHPS scores are so dependent on a patient’s perception of their care, which encompasses their comfort level during their stay, hospitals are moving to continue updating their facilities to make patients more comfortable and communicating with patients much more frequently throughout their stay. When both of these goals are achieved, patients will be treated to much higher levels of comfort and care during their stay.