Why Care Delivery Matters
Care delivery is spearheaded by healthcare providers and administrators, who work to provide quality care to patients. The ultimate goal of care delivery is to meet the needs of patients within the healthcare system. Of course, patient satisfaction is one of the biggest concerns of physical therapy clinics. Therefore, it is important to ensure that healthcare providers are providing the expected quality of care to patients.
Nowadays, there has been considerable growth in the population of older adults and senior citizens. In 2050, the U.S. will have double the number of adults over 65, compared to 2012. As a result of an aging population, there will be a greater need for healthcare. In particular, it will become more important for healthcare providers to establish effective communications with patients. This way, they can better understand patient needs.
Ways to Improve Care Delivery
1. Data Analytics
In-depth data helps drive clinical decisions. Analytics and reporting are key tools for understanding quality and cost data metrics. Data is the clearest way for healthcare providers to understand the effectiveness of their care delivery system.
The most important characteristic of data is its objectivity. Physical therapy clinics are, in the end, businesses, and one should not let personal opinions get in the way. Metrics can clearly show which areas are in need of improvement.
Wasteful spending in the U.S. healthcare system is estimated to cost an incredible $700 billion every year. The primary contributors of this wasteful spending are unnecessary care and over treatment. Healthcare providers need to understand where their money would be best spent. Data can best inform their decisions.
Another important thing to keep in mind is transparency. Make sure that there is continuous data sharing. Get people involved in data tracking and analysis. The more people who know about these metrics, the more this data can be effectively used to improve care delivery.
2. Scheduling Appointments
Scheduling appointments is one of the first steps of the care delivery process. Suffice it to say, this process should be simple and easy for both patients and healthcare providers.
Make it straightforward for patients to set up appointments. Get on board with technology – for example, make it so that patients can book via an online portal. The traditional method of calling in can be time-consuming and tedious. There can be some back-and-forth as patients and healthcare providers try to settle on a good time for both of them. Another issue with the traditional method could be accessibility and availability. Patients would need to call in during office hours, which can be difficult for those with long working hours.
An online portal to make appointments would solve both of these issues. Patients would be able to view available time slots immediately, without having to go back-and-forth with someone at the front desk. Patients can also log into the portal anytime, which takes care of potential accessibility issues.
Appointment reminders are another aspect that healthcare providers should keep in mind. If a patient does not make it to an appointment, the care delivery process would be cut short. Make sure that your clinic has multiple ways to reach patients in effective ways. Perhaps you can send messages via an online portal – and send email notifications whenever there is a new message. Or you could opt to send text messages over phone calls or voicemails. In today’s fast-paced, technology-infused society, people are much more likely to check their texts than their voicemail.
Whichever method you choose to use, appointment scheduling and reminders are highly important. Start off the care delivery process with a good scheduling infrastructure in place.
3. Care Management and Coordination
Coordination among staff members is a crucial step of the care delivery process. This step of the process is when patients are directly interacting with healthcare providers. Therefore, efficient management systems are key.
According to this study, approximately 85% of workplace errors are due to communication failures. When healthcare professionals are not communicating effectively, patients may not be receiving high-quality care. There can be a misinterpretation of information or a lack of critical information. Good communication and collaboration as a team, on the other hand, is when every member of the care team understands patient history and needs. Then, they will be able to pick up where the last team member left off. This creates a seamless experience for patients and ensures that they are receiving consistent care.Good communication also improves employee engagement and productivity. Satisfied and engaged employees lead to better outcomes. As such, team members will be able to better contribute to patient satisfaction and the quality of care.
4. Check-In After Appointments
Stay in contact with patients, even after appointments. This way, you can assess the effectiveness of a treatment. Check-ins are the last step to the care delivery process.
In physical therapy, the exercises and effort that a patient puts in between appointments are essential to recovery. Therefore, there should be good communication networks between patient and therapist. Apps like AC Health facilitate communication even after patients leave a physical therapy clinic. Through the app, physical therapists can remotely monitor patient progress and prescribe new exercises as needed. On the other end, patients can keep notes and send feedback to therapists about exercises. In fact, selfie video chats are used so that patients can demonstrate their questions with their instructions while therapists can reply with specific demonstrations for correction! This communication channel ensures that patients are recovering on-track. Communication is essential to ensuring effective care delivery.
Care delivery should be one of the main concerns of any healthcare provider, including physical therapy clinics, hospitals, and nursing facilities. Care delivery involves the majority of patient interaction with healthcare providers. There are many steps within the entire process, but some areas to pinpoint include data analytics, appointment scheduling, care management, and after-care check-ins. Keep these tips in mind, and you will be well on your way to providing effective care delivery to your patients.