Strategies to Foster a Positive Patient Experience in the ED

Each year, the Beryl Institute holds a weeklong celebration to honor healthcare providers, physicians, hospital staff, and nurses who contribute to positively impacting the patient experience every day.

Patient Experience Week, set for April 22-29 this year, serves as a time to mark achievement and encourage strategic efforts to improve patient care.

A specific area of focus within the realm of patient experience that can prove more complex and demand more attention than others is in the emergency department (ED). On the front-lines of care delivery, the ED environment demands solutions to unique challenges not found elsewhere in the hospital. ED providers must have the ability to triage patients, navigate life-threatening injuries, and manage capacity in a notoriously chaotic and stressful setting. Of course, the ED is also not immune to the regulatory pressures surrounding hospital management and performance metrics, both of which directly impact the facility’s bottom-line.

In an effort to simultaneously deliver higher standards of care and improve the patient experience, healthcare providers are doubling down on strategies to refine the patient experience in the ED. Though each hospital and healthcare provider is unique, here are three overarching strategies that encourage and enable the high-quality care that patients deserve:

  1. Elevate the customer experience face-to-face. Elevated standards of customer service are demanded in the ED, especially when it comes to patient interactions. Scared, confused, or overwhelmed, patients and their families will evaluate your facility not only on clinical procedures and outcomes, but also in how they were treated at the time care was delivered. As patients continue to crave involvement in their healthcare and engagement in the process, hospitals must place a greater emphasis on training and hiring staff capable and ready to assist patients however they can. Plus, with the changing demands in reimbursement, re-framing standards, and honing in on the importance of physician-patient interaction will be essential. Specific areas of focus could include patient wait times, a faster registration process, managing expectations and improvements to patient privacy through physical layouts and patient volume management.
  2. Create an environment that empowers staff. ED managers and hospital leadership play a significant part in shaping the experiences of patients. By promoting and prizing communication among all staff members, doctors, nurses, and administrators, those ED managers can create positive working environments where staff feels empowered and supported. Building an environment of trust, respect, and positivity can re-energize ED staff to optimize an integrated approach to improving the patient experience, which is why it’s no surprise that hospitals who receive higher patient satisfaction scores often also tend to have higher physician and staff satisfaction scores. Providing structured programs or building more purpose into overall ED management can build long-term positive results for patients and providers alike.
  3. Get hospital leadership involved. Without the full support of your hospital’s C-suite, overcoming any sort of ED-related challenges are likely to fall flat. Engaging leadership and optimizing process in a top-down management commitment is crucial. Instituting levels of accountability will help ensure that any strategic actions will not fall by the wayside or simply be forgotten.

As a leader in your facility, consider what your ED does well and in what areas it could improve. Consult with others who can validate your concerns or work with you to manage them. Don’t forget to celebrate and acknowledge the successes within your ED and the dedicated staff who make every positive patient experience possible.

Eager to learn more about how to create more positive ED experiences for your patients? Email us at inquiries@medhost.com or call 1.800.383.6278 to speak with one of our specialists to learn how MEDHOST can implement technology-driven solutions to prioritize the patient experience in your ED.

Don’t forget to subscribe to stay up to date on all healthcare IT news! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, subscribe to our blog, and check out our resource center to stay in the loop.

Related Emergency Department Resources

ED Backlog: Trends, Causes, and Solutions [Infographic]

Why the Healthcare Industry Needs a Cybersecurity Checkup

How to Leverage Analytics to Target ED Backlogs