Delivering a positive consumer experience in business is table stakes – and healthcare is now no different. Patients are demanding more from their providers, hospitals, and health plans and those who don’t make the member or patient experience an imminent priority stand to suffer grave consequences. It’s about more than customer service, however. In fact, much of what businesses do to delight their customers goes unseen, from efficiencies to staff training. The same rings true in healthcare – the patient walks away from their encounter feeling a sentiment about their experience – and smart healthcare organizations will not overlook the most direct ways in which they can boost medication adherence and create improved experiences for their populations.
Measures of patient satisfaction
One of the most challenging aspects to patient satisfaction is that not only do patient satisfaction surveys rely upon self-reporting, but many measures extend beyond the control of clinicians.
However, through the collaborative effort of the entire care team, progress can be made to significantly boost patient satisfaction scores.
Time and dedicated attention from providers
One of the most frequent drivers of poor patient satisfaction is lack of adequate time a patient has with a clinician. Overburdened clinicians struggle to deliver meaningful, methodical care and may rush through patient-related communication. As a result, patients sometimes feel disrespected or unheard when expressing their health concerns.
In contrast, remote pharmacists, such as the ones in the Aspen RxHealth Pharmacist Community, aren’t faced with the same limitations as most in-person clinicians. There are no long lines, no looming deadlines. As a result, time with patients increases, leading to more meaningful consultations and improved health outcomes.
Some patients have the misconception that their conditions can be treated or resolved quickly. While swift resolution is the goal, oftentimes patients require extensive or long-term therapies. In those instances, it’s important to set appropriate patient expectations. Managing these expectations is vital to the care team’s patient communication. However, patients must also follow their treatment plans and medication regimens properly. After all, they don’t work if they’re not followed as intended. When a patient doesn’t commit to the treatment plan or medication regimen, it can make managing and delivering on their expectations difficult. That’s where patient education comes in.
One of the best remedies to align patient expectations with the reality of their medical situation is through patient education efforts. When patients have a stronger grasp on their conditions as well as the potential remedies that their treatment plan provides, they’re more likely to adhere to the recommendations and advice of their care team.
Clear and consistent communication
From appointment setting to follow-up care, the level of communication a patient receives can have an outsized impact on patient satisfaction. However, it’s not just the volume. Though frequent touchpoints can be helpful, the quality and tone of communication matter most. Negative interactions with a care team member can leave a bad impression as can interactions that leave a patient feeling silenced.
Aspen RxHealth pharmacists receive extensive training and resources to equip them with the tools to approach patients empathetically. Through a consistent and helpful approach, Aspen RxHealth pharmacists meet patients where they are and communicate in a manner they can easily understand.
Practice or facility organization
Practices that run inefficiently or even appear unorganized create a negative patient perception of the care they will receive. Post-consultation, patients have expectations regarding the timeliness of communication. In a disorganized office, it’s untenable.
As a fully remote care delivery model, Aspen RxHealth removes these barriers to optimal patient satisfaction. Aspen RxHealth pharmacists conduct all consultations telephonically, allowing patients to receive their care from anywhere. No more waiting rooms, just efficient and effective patient-centric consultations.
Without clear expectations set through patient communication, it’s difficult for clinicians to deliver the best outcomes. Whether it’s a comorbidity that complicates care and treatment, a lack of patient buy-in on the treatment plan, or nonadherence to medication, an outcome that doesn’t meet expectations or hopes can decrease patient satisfaction.
In contrast, caregivers who are able to build long-lasting relationships with their patients are often able to help improve outcomes. That’s why Aspen RxHealth allows patients to “favorite” pharmacists for future consultations. As our pharmacists get to know and understand your populations, they grow together, finding solutions to problems that work for the patient.
Clinical pharmacists and patient outcomes
All high-performing healthcare organizations have one goal in their sights: improved patient outcomes. And with outcomes impacting quality scores and patient satisfaction, it’s also in their best interest. So what’s the best way to structure teams that deliver best-in-class results?
Including clinical pharmacists on care teams is an important step to improve outcomes, especially when it comes to chronic conditions and medication management. Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to manage complex conditions and multiple medications, making them critical members of the care team. In fact, research suggests that pharmacist-led medication management programs, tailored for individual patients, can help manage chronic disease more effectively and lower the risk of death by 20%.
The role of medication adherence in both condition management and patient outcomes has been established. Therefore, tasking clinical pharmacists with using their skills to improve adherence rates is one of the most effective ways to positively influence satisfaction and patient outcomes.
What role does medication adherence play in patient satisfaction?
Medication nonadherence can have a serious impact on a patient’s health including disease progression and worsening quality of life. It’s not surprising then, that it can also hurt their level of satisfaction with their care.
Further, increased costs due to nonadherence are an exacerbating factor. This is why patient education and communication are critical to achieving proper medication adherence and optimal results. Because the consequences of nonadherence create the potential for deleterious effects, ensuring adherence is also a vital part of improving patient satisfaction.
How patient satisfaction improves healthcare encounters
Fortunately for healthcare organizations looking to boost their performance, the factors that create positive patient experiences are interconnected..
Positive patient outcomes improve patient satisfaction and in turn, drive loyalty and retention. Those two factors are critical for health plans working to create a healthier and happier member population. Members who are well educated and engaged in their health are not only more satisfied, but also more likely to remain adherent and live healthier lives. As the cycle continues, these members are equipped to maintain their health over time, lowering the cost of care for their health plans and the US healthcare system at large.
While all of these factors influence each other, the common catalyst is medication adherence because it impacts patient satisfaction in a variety of ways. More specifically, medication adherence relies upon consistent, informative, and accessible communication.
That’s one reason why Aspen RxHealth focuses so heavily upon building strong pharmacist-patient relationships predicated on curated matches. Shared demographics allow patients and pharmacists to build individual relationships which not only personalize care but enable clinical pharmacists to provide valuable medication education and improve medication adherence.
Not all healthcare revolutions need to be seismic. They can start small, with one conversation between pharmacist and patient. If you’re ready to change patient outcomes and improve patient satisfaction through the power of personalized healthcare, reach out to the Aspen RxHealth team today.