The Patient Journey: Four Important Points

Can you recall the last time your customer experience was satisfactory? 

It might be that you received the wrong item after placing an order online, and received the correct order the next morning after contacting customer service.  

How about your most recent experience at the doctor’s office, can you recall how it went? 

It is highly likely that you had to go over all of the information you had given during the initial consultation via phone once you had gotten into the examination room, which came after a relatively long spell in the waiting room.  

As healthcare providers work to improve their bottom line by reducing costs, patient focussed approaches have been abandoned over the years; as it is apparent that traditionally, health systems have fallen short of the expectations of their patients. 

In comparison to other industries serving customers directly, it is clear that the healthcare industry is playing catch up. 

A well grounded customer experience and engagement strategy is essential especially considering the fact that healthcare itself is naturally personal.  

Here are the 4 most important steps in your patient’s journey.

Step One – Patient Education 

To make the most informed decisions, patients need to be educated. 

Patient education ensures that informed decisions are made each and every time. Patients are better equipped to decide how they want to be served once they have all the information they need regarding potential treatment options and general care. 

To ensure that patients are well informed and actively aware of their treatment, healthcare providers should offer them educational material. The main goal of providers and physicians should be to uncover the preferences of their patients in order to ensure that their final decision is a perfect match.    

The simplest way to achieve this goal is to provide educational material that will reduce the need for questions down the line.

Luke Mollica of Mindset Mastery provides one-on-one coaching services. He suggests that “providers can establish their authority on the preferences of patients by providing guidance and solid educational materials. This ensures that the decisions made by patients are founded on sound information.”  

Step Two – Good Communication 

Patients should be able to communicate openly with their team of healthcare providers. 

Regardless of your level of healthcare literacy, it may take a while for you to understand healthcare and medical information due to its complex nature. When it comes to seeking clarifications on the expected side effects, reasons behind the inclusion of a specific type of medicine in their treatment, how to respond to any issues that you may experience and how to take the medicine among others, patients should never feel embarrassed. 

This is vital according to acupuncture specialist Sally Austin, who says “I sit down for work at a desk all day. Over time this led to painful injuries that required treatment. During some of those treatments I felt a disconnect between what was being said and what was being done. As a patient, feeling left in the dark is stressful. Communication is key at every level.”

To ensure that they have properly understood what their healthcare provider has said, some patients find it easier to repeat back what they understand was said by the professional. 

According to alcohol and drug withdrawal expert Satya Armstrong, “there are three basic factors that affect your health: structural, chemical, and emotional. Cooperation and clear communication is the only way to assess all three properly. As a patient, good communication with your physician helps ensure that you receive patient-focused treatment, which increases the likelihood of a positive outcome at the end of it all.

Step Three – The Treatment Plans

Throughout the journey to recovery, patients are guided by a treatment plan. 

Every patient follows a different road to recovery; as such, every treatment plant is unique. The completion of the initial patient assessment marks the start of treatment planning. In some cases, some patient needs must be addressed immediately. Depending on how the patient responds to each phase, alternation can be made in the treatment plan. This means that treatment planning is always evolving. 

To evaluate the patient’s progress, check-ups should be scheduled on a regular basis; more importantly, each patient should appreciate the important nature of their treatment plan. 

Step Four – Prevention 

Healthcare providers must assess and manage the patient as a whole to prevent chronic pain. 

In the long term, medical treatment is likely to fail if all underlying risk factors are not addressed. The best way to successfully manage pain is through the combination of evidence based treatments for pain with self-management training through a multi-disciplinary team set up, in a transformative care approach. 

In addition to reducing any pain and existing symptoms, it is possible to improve the patient’s overall health by simply achieving these objectives.  

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