Consumers love great experiences. They seek them out and demand that their favorite brands deliver – or else. They use 5-star rating systems to evaluate retailers, restaurants and airlines — and share the results with the 5 billion or so people who are connected to Internet. Consumers have power. They’re in control.
This hard shift to consumerism is now taking shape in healthcare. From HCAHPS (the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores to CMS ratings to Leap Frog grades, patients are evaluating healthcare experiences — and the data generated is shaping important new realities for health systems, hospitals and clinics. Patient satisfaction data is used to generate analytic insights, which are then accessed by consumers to choose providers — and used by payers to help calculate reimbursement rates.
Clinicians of every generation have worked tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients, often without regard for a person’s ability to pay. So, while the concept of working toward exceptional patient outcomes and experiences is not new, the practice of surveying patients regarding their perceptions of healthcare experiences represents a change for the industry.
Some industry leaders believe HCAHPS and similar tools actually work against quality outcomes. The argument is that implementing and managing delivery of surveys consumes time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. But until changes are made — if they’re made — health systems, hospitals and clinicians need to find ways to improve patient satisfaction levels in order to protect both revenues and brand reputations.
A common theme in HCHAPS and other survey tools is clinician-patient communications. As part of the survey process, patients are asked if they felt they had sufficient facetime with doctors and nurses. They’re also asked about the quality and frequency of communications.
Achieving high ratings in these categories requires more bedside time on the part of clinicians. Even though procedures and processes are being conducted on behalf of patients, they are likely to feel neglected if clinicians are working away from the bedside. While the patient is likely receiving excellent quality of care, the perception may be that they are being left alone and have minimal contact with their doctors or nurses.
At Vave, we’ve identified this as an emerging need in the healthcare space. We believe clinicians need personal and portable technologies that allow them to acquire and diagnose medical images while at the patient bedside. Other markets have clearly made this leap. Consumers can use mobile devices to make purchases, board planes and gain access to everything from bank accounts to movie theaters to their VPNs at work.
Vave is working to put those anywhere-anytime mobile capabilities to work for healthcare. Our goals is to develop personal and portable technologies that allow more clinician-patient face time. Remove unnecessary costs. Elevate the quality of care. And make care physically and economically accessible to more people.