Employing the right technology can bring improvement in key performance metrics
For patients, today’s U.S. health care system often paints two starkly different pictures: While they could receive excellent clinical care, their patient experience could be disjointed and inefficient at best.
As the health care system increases its focus on value-based care and improved outcomes, the patient experience and value-based care must be seen as interconnected. In fact, three value-based care quality metrics—patient satisfaction, preventive care screenings, and care coordination—are directly impacted by the overall patient experience.
Fortunately there are a number of digital tools that can help engender better awareness, better understanding, better conversations, and better care experiences—all of which ultimately translate to higher-value care.
Information is power
According to the 2023 PatientPoint Patient Confidence Index nearly half (48%) of Americans report feeling anxious before health care visits, up from from 39% last year. This anxiety is due to factors such as insufficient information and education, limited knowledge about health care providers, and hesitation to discuss health concerns with providers. Additionally, a third of Americans admit to regularly leaving appointments confused. Taken together, these anxieties hinder effective care.
Asked about the factors that could enhance their confidence in discussing health matters with care providers, more than half (55%) of those surveyed highlighted the importance of receiving health education during appointments. In addition, 43% expressed interest in pre-visit education. Given that most patients spend approximately 14 minutes in the waiting room and an additional 12-13 minutes in the exam room without a health care provder (HCP) present, substantial opportunity exists to educate and empower patients while they wait.
Providers can maximize the value of time patients spend in their offices and support value-based care by leveraging digital signage to disseminate relevant health information. Showcasing digital content in the waiting room prepares patients for important health care decision-making moments before they enter the exam room and has been proven to drive patient utilization of vital health services including mammography, colon cancer screening, flu vaccination, tobacco cessation counseling, and sexually transmitted infection screening.
The flexible environment of the exam room enables digital signage to deliver more tailored information to patients that further encourages them to talk to their provider and take proactive steps such as signing up for patient portals, scheduling preventive screenings and vaccinations, or discussing a new treatment.
A provider’s use of technology in their practice also significantly contributes to patient trust, a sentiment confirmed by our 2023 Patient Confidence Index. More than half (51%) of Americans surveyed agreed that a provider’s use of tech and offering a tech-forward patient experience made a provider worthy of their trust. And increased trust leads to increased dialogue, better adherence to care plans and better outcomes—again, driving value-based care.
Do more with less
Digital tools can also help improve outcomes and support value-based care by saving providers time. With burnout running rampant in all parts of the health care workforce, providers are eager to increase efficiency however they can. Incorporating technology such as touschreens in the exam room allows staff to save valuable time by leveraging curated education and tools such as 3D anatomicals and whiteboard features to enhance conversations involving complex health topics.
Providing the right education at the right time frees up HCPs and staff to prioritize face-to-face interactions to improve the overall patient experience which leads to healthier patients. And, in a value-based environment, that linkage between provider relief, enhanced patient experience, and improved outcomes fuels higher reimbursement rates and healthier provider practices and health systems.
To succeed in value-based care, now more than ever health systems and physician practices need to embrace digital tools that enhance the patient experience and encourage patients to take a more active role in managing their health. And patients want the tools: more than two-thirds of Americans (67%) told us in our 2023 Patient Confidence Index that they want to be able to describe their conditions and symptoms better before talking to their health care provider.
Creating better care experiences means patients will feel more confident in following through with provider-recommended procedures and regimens. The resulting reduced costs, improved quality, and better health are what we’re all reaching for.
Chris Martini is chief provider officer at PatientPoint.