Comfort, convenience and compliance
Products for patient
satisfaction require all three
by Kara Nadeau
satisfaction has gained far greater importance in the minds of healthcare
providers since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS)
introduction of Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP). Under this program,
CMS links reimbursements to the quality of care delivered for inpatient
stays in over 3,500 hospitals across the country.1
Patient satisfaction is one parameter used
to measure care quality under the VBP program. To help hospitals measure
patients’ perceptions of their care experience, CMS created the Hospital
Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. It
includes 27 questions for discharged patients about their recent hospital
stay, everything from the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital
environment to communication about medicines.2
Hospital rating information is publicly
available on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website so that consumers can make
"objective and meaningful comparisons of hospitals," which in turn "creates
new incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care."2
With patient satisfaction now playing a
critical role in the financial health of hospitals, many are turning to new
products that can influence favorable attitudes about patient care delivery
and customer service. In this article, we explore some of the latest
offerings in this area.
It’s all about location
Hospitals can be challenging to physically
navigate. The inability to find locations for appointments, lab tests and
other services can leave patients feeling frustrated with their healthcare
experience. To address this issue,
MobileSmith offers hospitals a way to
quickly and inexpensively deploy a custom wayfinding app to meet their
Wayfinding app by MobileSmith
The apps employ beacons and geofencing from
Gimbal to implement a variety of custom contextual messaging scenarios —
from location-triggered welcome messages to special offers and
announcements, from automatic check-in to visitor and personnel tracking.
"You can develop a customized, more
responsive mobile patient experience and humanize your brand," said Janna
Badalian, Marketing Director at MobileSmith. "Best of all, you don’t have to
spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on sophisticated wayfinding
infrastructure and programming."
Location isn’t just about patients finding
their way around a hospital, but also the hospital keeping track of them.
CenTrak’s 31-day disposable patient tags, which may be worn on standard
issued medical ID bracelets, can be used to track, locate, protect and
identify a patient in seconds. Designed to operate for one month, these tags
can be used for patient flow applications and patient monitoring at any
time, anywhere in a facility.
CenTrak’s 31-day disposable patient tag
The tag’s waterproof, thin, lightweight and
modular design and low price provide an economical solution to a wide
variety of patient management challenges. It can help confirm identity and
reduce errors before medication is administered or a procedure is performed.
The tag can measure patient wait times and time spent with providers. The
tag also enables increased patient mobility and safety by quickly alerting
staff if patients enter or leave restricted areas giving patients the
freedom and flexibility to move as supported by their care plan.
"The use of Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS)
for monitoring patients is increasingly recognized as a pivotal component to
improving patient satisfaction and maximizing reimbursement," said Ari Naim,
President and CEO of Centrak. "Using patient tags provides greater
visibility into a patient’s status and location, helping staff be more
responsive to meet patient needs. This increased visibility also increases
efficiencies allowing staff to spend more time caring for the patient, which
enhances the patient experience and, in turn, improves HCAHPS scores."
Communication is critical
An analysis of nearly 35,000 online reviews
of doctors nationwide revealed that 96 percent of patient complaints were
because of poor communications, disorganization and excessive delays in
seeing a physician.3
CareWire’s secure text messaging
A text-first mobile patient engagement
platform, CareWire, takes advantage of the immediacy, simplicity and
ubiquity of text messaging to improve communication and boost patient
satisfaction. Using CareWire’s HIPAA-compliant messaging software,
healthcare providers are able to communicate personalized, precisely timed,
service-specific education, instructions and alerts to patients — before,
throughout and after care.
By blending SMS text, secure messaging and
web applications to support a customer’s population health, patient
preparation and recovery, and satisfaction initiatives, CareWire lowers
operational costs, improves patient adherence and enhances the overall
patient experience, says CareWire’s President and CEO Ken Saitow. From
message content, to delivery sequence and timing, the company leverages the
insights gleaned from millions of consumer interactions to inform its design
to reliably deliver results.
"Gathering patient feedback has always been
a challenge - consider that less than 2 percent of paper surveys are ever
filled out and oftentimes responses are received weeks after a patient’s
encounter," said Saitow. "Using a combination of text message and mobile web
surveys, CareWire delivers focused ‘text-first’ surveys immediately after a
patient’s visit. With this quick, easy and cost effective tool, response
rates can be greater than 50 percent with the majority of responses received
within 15 minutes of survey delivery."
Health plan support
Navigating the complexities of a health
plan is another challenge faced by patients. Determining which healthcare
providers are covered, and what is the fastest and easiest path to securing
care and medications, can be complex and confusing. Through
Messaging platform, health plans can deliver branded, personalized and
contextualized communication to members, using the method of the member’s
choice. The platform can help patients access their benefits, find the best
place to get care, and understand how best to get and use their medications.
RxEOB Mercury Messaging platform
"RxEOB Mercury Messaging can help a plan
reach their entire patient population the way I used to when I was a retail
pharmacist — one patient at a time," said Robert S. Oscar, RPh, CEO and
President of RxEOB. "Mercury Messaging helps patients select the right
network provider or pharmacy, understand their medications and why they have
been prescribed, and how best to access their benefits. Taking into account
the patient’s individual benefit plan and individual clinical circumstances
is the basis for thoughtful and effective patient communication."
Patient comfort and convenience
Catheterization is an unpleasant fact of
many hospital stays, including those involving surgeries.
offers an alternative to the invasive Foley catheter, which provides an
avenue for pathogens to travel inside the body and set up infection. The
patient can place the PureWick herself or it can be managed by unskilled
labor, saving the cost of nursing care. According to Camille Newton, MD,
President, its use reduces back injuries, pressure sores, rashes, and
catheter-associated urinary-tract infections.
external female catheter
Newton described PureWick as an external
female catheter that comfortably and externally wicks away urine while
keeping the patient cool and dry. "Postop patients often have a hard time
toileting and end up lying in a wet diaper or resorting to Foley catheters
for incontinence management. Diapers hold moisture and heat next to the
skin, creating a micro-environment that leads to infection and skin
break-down. PureWick minimizes the need for diapers and Foley catheters,
increases air circulation, and prevents the need for super pads, which
eliminates the benefits from airflow mattresses."
PureWick works through vacuum-assisted
wicking action. A thin tube is placed between the labia and gluteus muscles,
and the tube is attached to a wall vacuum at the lowest setting. "The cool
air flowing promotes wound healing and prevents infection. When the patient
urinates," explained Newton, "the urine is drawn into the center of the tube
through wicking action. From the center of the tube, the urine is whisked
away to the vacuum canister, where it can be used for testing or disposed
of." The patient does not feel the vacuum.
A better imaging experience
More than 100 million Americans suffer from
chronic pain, which can have a devastating impact on quality of life.
Patients with pain sometimes experience a fluctuation in location, type and
intensity of pain throughout the day or over time. The Precision Montage MRI
SCS System allows patients to undergo a full-body MRI while benefiting from
the pain relief of MultiWave Technology. MultiWave Technology enables
delivery of multiple waveforms, including burst and higher rates, intended
to help respond to changes in pain over time. In an analysis of registry
information from 800 patients, it was determined that 72 percent used
multiple waveforms to customize their therapy and optimize pain relief.
Montage MRI SCS System
from Boston Scientific
"The Precision Montage MRI SCS System is a
key addition to our Illumina 3D portfolio, offering patients more choices to
manage and personalize their therapy," said Maulik Nanavaty, Senior Vice
President and President, Neuromodulation,
Boston Scientific."This important
advancement underscores our commitment to meet the individual needs of
chronic pain patients."
Promoting a better stay
Cardinal Health is helping to improve a
patient’s stay with Presource Products and Services standard and custom
admission and amenity kits. For example, the company’s Better Stay Kit is
designed with HCAHPS standards in mind to promote a positive patient
experience and restorative stay for patients. The kit includes the following
to help ensure a more positive experience:
Health’s Better Stay Kit
• Ear plugs to help encourage a quiet,
• Lip balm and eye mask to help establish
• Better Stay journal and pencil to help
promote meaningful patient/care provider communication
Caring for patients with disabilities
presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to patient satisfaction.
Medical manufacturer GCX recently collaborated with Virginia Commonwealth
University (VCU) Health to create a mobile cart that can hold a laptop so
mobility-challenged patients can use the internet safely while in the ICU.
The GCX Patient Engagement Table is an
over-bed, hospital-grade table that holds a tablet and optional USB charger.
It is designed to improve the patient experience by providing more
entertainment and education opportunities at the bedside. Social networks
and web apps help patients connect with friends and families, understand
care plans and even remotely control a room’s climate.
over-bed Patient Engagement System
"The VCU cart reduces clutter and removes
hazards from caregivers and family members’ walkways, while bringing
technology right in front of the patient," said Kent Hochgertle, GCX
Director of New Business Development. "Through the cart, severely limited
patients are able to reconnect with vital support systems and gain some
independence and control over their activities and environment."
Patient gowns get a makeover
"Patients, doctors and nurses have
expressed their frustrations with the current hospital gown time and time
again—they don’t provide medical professionals with easy access to monitors
and IVs while patients are left feeling exposed, vulnerable and
uncomfortable," said Mary Apple, CEO of
Pretty Pushers. "Pretty Pushers
prioritizes the need to improve patients’ hospital experiences. When
patients wear a Pretty Pushers gown, they will be wearing a garment that is
functional, comfortable, modest and fashionable. These attributes can help
to improve hospitals’ satisfaction rates by restoring a feeling of dignity
that the traditional gown can often take away from patients."
Pushers labor and delivery patient gowns
Pretty Pushers offers a line of labor and
delivery patient gowns for a new generation of pregnant clientele; these
patient gowns are offered in one size and plus size with adjustable features
to accommodate all body types. Soft knit fabric provides comfort and support
while stretching to accomplish a better fit than the traditional hospital
gown. Every style of Pretty Pushers gowns—including the Comfort, Select and
Simplicity Labor & Delivery Patient Gown—incorporates subtle openings that
allow for fetal monitors, IVs, epidurals, and skin-to-skin contact and
nursing with discretion and modesty.
Increasing satisfaction through education
Giving patients the information they need
to make informed decisions and stay healthy is a key driver in improving the
care experience. Elsevier Interactive Patient Education provides an
expansive library of text and video content designed to support regulatory
compliance, including Meaningful Use requirements for patient education and
quality initiatives. The video library contains short videos that allow the
care team to create personalized playlists for each patient to help explain
diagnosis, treatments, medications, lifestyle modifications and much more.
"Elsevier elevates patient engagement with
solutions that help care providers build relationships and change patient
behaviors by delivering evidence-based content that providers use and trust
via interactive patient-friendly tools and technology," said Sonika Mathur,
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Elsevier Patient Engagement. "We
are proud to provide these solutions to more than 2,000 organizations across
the U.S., and see the positive impact providing the right education at
teachable moments has during the care process."
Educating the caregiver