5 Ways patient and family caregiver engagement can impact your organization

5 Ways patient and family caregiver engagement can impact your organization

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Byline: Terri Embry, RN, BSBA, Customer Success, CitusHealth

Home-based care is experiencing many shifts. Hospitals and facility-based care are shifting to the home, patient expectations are shifting to those of consumers, and fee-for-service is shifting to value-based care. As organizations evolve to adapt to these changes, they must navigate the staffing shortage and find creative ways to do more with less. Those that fail to do this are finding poor satisfaction among their patients and family caregivers — and it all comes down to communication.

HHCAHPS Patient & Family Caregiver Satisfaction

According to a Porter Research study of 300 patients and family caregivers who experienced home healthcare in the last 12 months, providers are failing to meet growing expectations. In fact, 57% claimed providers need improvement on the five communication-related HHCAHPS survey questions:

  1. Keeping patients and family caregivers informed and up to date on care and treatment
  2. Training and education
  3. Arrival times and scheduling
  4. Timely response to urgent issues
  5. Medication changes or equipment needs

60% of study participants said the method of communication played a major role in their HHCAHPS survey responses. So how can home-based care organizations streamline their communication to better connect with those they serve? A mobile messaging solution is the answer to breaking down communication barriers through secure, real-time collaboration.

Here are five ways the right digital communication tool can impact patient and family caregiver engagement, satisfaction scores, and growth:

1. Response times can be reduced.
Improved response times can be the difference in preventing an emergency room visit that was avoidable. By implementing communication solutions that route and escalate inbound patient and family caregiver communications to the right care team member, patient needs can be addressed on the first outreach — which increases the likelihood of solving a problem quickly. Timely communication also decreases anxiety for patients and their caregivers.

 2. Consumers can be met where they are.
With an omni-channel communication strategy that delivers on what today’s tech-savvy consumers expect from home healthcare providers, patients and their family caregivers can be engaged in the mode they prefer. This includes smartphone apps, tablets and computers — just like other aspects of their lives. Often, the patient will have more than one person listed as their alternate contact, each with their own role to play in the patient’s plan of care. When you have a communication platform that allows the entire group to collaborate and be informed, through structured and non-structured messaging, the patient is better served.

3. Technology investments can be aligned with consumer needs.
Consumers identified seven priorities for communicating in real time through a smartphone, tablet or computer, which should be used as a roadmap for technology investments that improve patient and family caregiver satisfaction:

  • Initiating a group chat with members of my care team to answer my questions
  • Participating in a telehealth video session with my nurse, therapist or physician
  • Knowing about schedule changes for nurse, therapist or aide visits
  • Coordinating the delivery of medication and/or equipment
  • Quickly receiving a response to an emergency or urgent question
  • Receiving educational information or training
  • Receiving and signing paperwork

4. Real-time technology can be turned into a competitive advantage.
Once you implement a consumer-centric strategy that offers omni-channel communication, tell the world — including referral sources and prospective patients and families. Also, the ability to white label the technology can mean your brand is what your patients and referral sources will see when interacting with the technology.

5. Technology should integrate.
As you evaluate your technology options, look for a complete platform solution that solves these consumer needs and creates the efficiency of a seamless integration between each service.

The benefits of a digital patient experience
Patient engagement can mean different workflows for any company. For home health, these could include:

  • Real-time, omni-channel communication for patients and family caregivers
  • Instant, secure messaging
  • Quick and easy methods to complete forms or sign documents
  • Easy sharing of medication changes, information requests or changes of health status
  • Virtual visits to determine intervention needs
  • Video calls between staff and families to provide peace of mind
  • Self-service education and training
  • Post-encounter follow-up and survey capabilities

The value that can come from the right technology can not only better engage patients and family caregivers, but it can also help to reduce re-hospitalizations and reduce revenue at risk. Request a demo today to learn how CitusHealth can impact your organization’s satisfaction scores, engagement and growth.

Terri Embry
Terri Embry
RN, BSBA, Vice President of Customer Success, CitusHealth

A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, Terri’s career has spanned almost three decades in regional and national home, specialty and long-term care infusion operations, sales, and informatics leadership. Her experience with cutting-edge workflow optimization has allowed her to understand the challenges both customers and their patients face. With CitusHealth, she leads the adoption and retention team helping to bring the voice of customers to the product development roadmap.

Terri has been in leadership, sales, and nursing roles for companies such as BioScrip, Omnicare, and Olsten-Kimberly Quality Care.