HealthWare Systems Blog
A Patient’s Last Impression: Improving the Discharge Process
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Improving the discharge process is vital to making a strong last impression on your patients, their family members, and caregivers. This final aspect of their visit greatly informs their opinion of their entire patient experience.
Consider improving the discharge process in the following areas, in order to increase patient satisfaction and improve the patient experience.
The Discharge Meeting
Don’t negate the positive first impressions you’ve made by overlooking an equally critical part of the patient experience: the discharge meeting. Patients may have received quality care and attention throughout the rest of their stay, but if they feel rushed and made to be less of a priority during their discharge, that’s what they’ll remember about their visit. Train clinicians to be cognizant of the emotions their patients may be feeling as they prepare to leave the security of the hospital (e.g. nervousness, fear, anxiety, confusion, exhaustion). It’s imperative that clinicians devote enough time to thoroughly explaining instructions and addressing patients’ and caregivers’ concerns during this final meeting, so that patients don’t feel lost or abandoned by the hospital when they leave.
Hospital Valet Service
As their hospital stay comes to an end, patients may be anxious to get back home. Help them to get there sooner by providing a hospital valet service. But be careful; a substandard hospital valet service that keeps patients waiting is likely to be counterproductive and will leave patients thinking they’d have been better off finding their own car.
So, choose a solution with a hospital valet service component that ensures patients’ cars are waiting for them as soon as they are ready to leave. Patients will be impressed and reminded of the great care and attention they received throughout their patient experience.
Post-Discharge Follow-Up Phone Calls
It is extremely important to make follow-up phone calls to patients and/or their family members and caregivers within a few days after they’ve been discharged. When patients are discharged, they and their caregivers may be overwhelmed by the information and instructions the doctor provides. A follow-up call gives them the chance to ask the questions they forgot to ask or that didn’t come to mind at the time. Plus, these phone calls give your staff the opportunity to confirm that patients understand their instructions and lower the chances of readmission.
Improving the discharge process can go a long way in helping you to increase patient satisfaction scores. When they receive their patient satisfaction surveys, make certain that patients’ most recent memories of their patient experience, their final moments in the hospital and latest contact with your facility, are positive ones. These extra steps you can take toward improving the discharge process are sure to leave a lasting impression on patients and their family members.