The Patient Experience As an iExperience
February 10, 2017
Now that Apple has given us an iSomething world and digital technologies have come to healthcare, patients can now have iExperiences.
What does that mean?
At NYU Langone Medical Center, USCF Medical Center at Mission Bay, and other major healthcare facilities, providers have gone to great expense to bring digital technologies to the bedside. They’ve installed large flat screen televisions that include a dashboard of icons from entertainment to meals, email, and housekeeping.
Each allows patients some degree of control in being able to effectively ask for what they want immediately, rather than waiting for an aide or nurse. Some hospitals, like UCSF, actually use robots to help deliver meals.
Other hospitals, such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, are experimenting with the use of virtual reality to reduce patients’ pain and anxiety and improve the overall hospital experience.
Positive Distraction Enhances Patient Experience
These technologies are used in diverse ways but basically come down to distraction or communication. Positive distractions have been shown to contribute to a healing environment, reduce perception of pain, and positively impact patients during the empty hours of a hospital stay.
Email communication is also sometimes the first point of contact a patient has with a provider. Increasingly, patients are being asked to log on to patient portals to make appointments and fill out pre-admission or appointment forms.
The bottom line is, though, that patients are concerned about their own health issues. Their iExperience is about trying to navigate through a system that resists personalization.
Given that, the use of technology to communicate, inform, assist, and relax patients is most effective only if an authentic effort is also made by clinicians to connect to patients.
What Does This Mean for The C.A.R.E.® Channel?
No doubt, we’ll continue to see increasing use of technology to engage patients in and out of the hospital to improve outcomes. For The C.A.R.E. Channel, this has meant looking at new ways of delivering our nature and music programming to patients beyond the hospital room.
Last year, we introduced C.A.R.E. Connect, an online streaming application that can be accessed through a smart phone, tablet, or computer via the provider’s patient portal. Patients and staff have access to the entire video library of The C.A.R.E. Channel and C.A.R.E. with Guided Imagery.
C.A.R.E. Connect allows the healing experience for patients to start prior to admission, continue during their stay, and last long after discharge. That’s the power of technology to deliver a good iExperience.
But again, a good iExperience only happens when the available technologies are filtered through compassion and clinical excellence.
Because ultimately, quality care is all about the therapeutic relationship.
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