With dropping temperatures and a festive buzz in the air, the holidays are clearly upon us. We all have a holiday wish list – here are the things I’m wishing for health care this holiday season:
- Quality care transitions – This goes beyond physically moving a patient from point A to point B. Clinicians need to apply an equal emphasis on transitioning a patient’s data as they do physically transporting patients between care areas, especially between facilities. To ensure a smooth transition of care, a clear and consistent process of communication should be established for tracking a patient – otherwise information could be misplaced, delayed or ignored all together. By implementing an effective communication process where clinicians are sharing and receiving the most up-to-date patient data through their preferred method and channel of communication, the care team can ensure that patients are receiving the highest quality of care during transitions and avoid unnecessary readmissions.
- Improved patient experience – In this evolving era of healthcare, patients are increasingly becoming consumers of their own care, seeking the best option possible in terms of both health and financial impact. Clinicians must be aware of a patient’s experience during his or her time in a health system. Caregivers must continue to take the time to establish a physician-patient relationship. Knowing a patient’s medical status and understanding the care they’re receiving helps to build that connection, but knowing how to communicate effectively with a patient – and other members of the collaborating care team – is the key improving patient experience.
- Germ accountability – The ED can be dangerous for patients with weak immune systems, from the elderly to the newborn to the generally sick visitors. Patients seek medical attention at centers of care to get better, not to be exposed to additional germs. An investigation by the Chicago Tribune reported that tens of thousands of deaths could have been prevented if nurses and doctors had washed their hands. Nurses and physicians: Please wash your hands before making contact with a new patient. It’s a simple way to put a patient’s mind at ease and avoid creating larger issues.
Now that I have shared my healthcare holiday wish list, what are your “must-haves” as we head into the holiday season?