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Understanding the Importance of Patient Experience: Insights from Patient Experience Week

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Zara Nwosu
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Understanding the Importance of Patient Experience: Insights from Patient Experience Week

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In acknowledgment of Patient Experience Week, it's crucial to delve into the concept of patient experience and understand why it matters. The term refers to the range of interactions that patients have with the healthcare system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses, and staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare facilities. Patient experience is a fundamental component in health care delivery that directly influences health outcomes, patient retention, and medical malpractice claims. However, recent studies indicate that patients are feeling less involved in decisions about their care and treatment. This article aims to explore the reasons why patients won't see their healthcare providers and strategies to improve the patient experience.

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Decrease in Patients' Involvement in Their Care

According to the recent GP Patient Survey, the proportion of patients who felt definitely involved in decisions about their care and treatment decreased from 61% in 2018 to 56% in 2022. A similar trend was observed in the Community Mental Health Survey. This indicates a significant challenge in the healthcare system as patient involvement is among the key determinants of patient satisfaction and successful treatment outcomes. The role of healthcare providers is not just to deliver care but also to ensure that patients are actively involved in the decision-making process. This is more likely to enhance their understanding of the treatment plan, adherence to medication, and overall satisfaction with the care they receive.

Role of Patient Satisfaction Surveys

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Understanding patients' perceptions and experiences is crucial for improving the quality of care. One of the ways to gather this data is through patient satisfaction surveys. Examples of these surveys include Jotform's HCAHPS surveys, patient feedback form, and patient satisfaction survey BDPT, as well as HHS patient satisfaction survey and iAuditor's web-based software. These surveys have been developed to meet HIPAA data privacy obligations, guaranteeing the privacy and confidentiality of patient information. They are increasingly becoming electronic to improve patient response rates and facilitate quick and easy analysis of the data collected.

Patient-Reported Experience Measures (PREMs)

Another tool to measure patient experience is the Patient-Reported Experience Measures (PREMs). Unlike satisfaction surveys, PREMs report objective patient experiences and eliminate the ability to report subjective views. They focus on the impact of the process of care on the patient’s experience, such as communication and timeliness of assistance. PREMs are functional, examining practical issues like facilities, or relational, identifying the patient's experience of their relationships during treatment. The data collected from PREMs provide vital feedback to healthcare providers to allow comparisons in clinical care and contribute to research, quality improvement projects, and economic evaluations.

Improving Patient Experience

Improving patient experience should be a priority for healthcare providers. This can be achieved by promoting a patient-centered approach, enhancing communication, ensuring timely delivery of care, and involving patients in decision-making processes. Furthermore, regular use of tools like patient satisfaction surveys and PREMs can provide valuable insights into areas that need improvement. This, in turn, can lead to a better understanding of patient's needs and expectations, ultimately leading to enhanced patient satisfaction, better health outcomes, and a successful healthcare delivery system.

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