An effective patient experience starts with focusing on staff satisfaction. Sound backwards? It’s not. Obviously, patients are vitally important but, the truth is: your patient engagement strategy will fail if your staff are not happy.
Here’s why—consumerism in healthcare drives providers to focus on a patient-centered way of running the business. Various technologies push to engage patients to take a more active role in their own clinical decisions. Yet, as the popularity of those patient engagement solutions has grown, consumer dissatisfaction with healthcare has also increased. A 2018 Gallup Poll found that 73% of employed Americans say the healthcare systems is “in a state of crisis” or “has major problems.”
At a time when frustrations and burnout are at crisis levels, it’s important that healthcare looks at the root issue. A solid foundation for success is staff and provider satisfaction—the same as for any company needing committed, engaged staff before they can provide a happy customer experience. But, instead of helping build that foundation, technology is woefully out of touch and focuses more on developing solutions that only focus on one type of patient communication instead of how it all fits together, and in a way that makes it easy for staff and providers. That’s not fixing the issue–that’s using a small bandage for a gaping wound.
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Healthcare practices continue to throw money and resources at a jumble of standalone solutions that each serve one way to communicate with patients, but the reality is even a single patient may want to communicate differently depending on the need. Those different solutions have too many log-ins, too much time lost jumping back and forth between then, too difficult to learn and they cost too much. To succeed, the right technology must put providers and staff at the center of care–being mindful of how they work, eliminating rework and redundant tasks and not having to toggle between different programs. When staff and providers are happier and more satisfied in their work and, we allow them to focus more on what got them into healthcare in the first place–helping patients.
Managing countless voicemails; faxing and refaxing; walking across the office to get questions answered; logging in and out of six different programs just to get your job done and leaving countless notes to remind yourself what needs to be done when you get your next free minute does not make for an ideal work environment. Unfortunately, poorly designed healthcare technology is a major contributing factor to both physician and staff burnout, leading to increased risk to patients, employee turnover, and significant financial loss. Worse, according to the National Academy of Medicine in a report released last month, as many as half of the country’s doctors and nurses experience substantial symptoms of burnout.
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