The value people assign to the state of their health to an extent, depends on their knowledge or experience of it. Without proper knowledge of their condition patients might take their health issues too seriously (like regarding every health scare as a life or death situation) which cause extra stress for clinicians and doctors and may lead to misallocation and waste of resources. Alternatively, some patients might not take their health condition seriously enough leading to emergency situations or further deterioration. Situations like this can be avoided with proper patient education and proper patient education cannot be gotten if there’s no communication between doctor and patient.
Patients can be given information and educated in a number of ways. Through conversation with their doctors, patient-targeted lectures and seminars, pamphlets, books, and even videos. Now, advice and information will differ among different patients even ones with similar conditions. The more patient advice and education need to be personalized, the more expensive this process becomes for the health organization or hospital.
The mode of sharing this information is also determined by other factors. Some of these factors are complexity of the case, time available, patient attitude and patient preference. These factors are all intertwined with each other with one leading into the other and so on. More complex cases take more time to discuss fully and this will require a longer interaction between patient and caregiver. But in some cases, the caregivers might not have the time to interact so extensively with each and every patient. Also, some patients might not want to “disturb” the doctor or caregiver thereby leaving important questions unasked. A lot depends on the attitude of the patient. Some patients might be embarrassed by their condition and prefer to get the information they need from impersonal sources such as videos, pamphlets or articles. This works a lot but sometimes personal communication is more efficient especially when the patient’s participation is very integral to the medical decisions take.
So these situations leave scholars and health practitioners alike with some questions. How much do patients wish to know about their health situation or diagnosis? What’s the best way to present this information to the patients? The answers to these questions are very important. Now human behavior varies and changes all the time. So for example, if a patient chooses an impersonal mode of communication and the doctor has a delicate information about their condition (like you have 3 months to live or their a 90% chance of failure of an operation) do they respect patient wishes and communicate via email or communicate to the patient directly? The answer to this question is; it depends on the doctor and each individual case. So at the end of the day Doctor or clinician discretion and severity of the case will determine a mode of communication. This varies a lot from each case and patient is different. An overall understanding of a situation is important but doctors must use their discretion when handling patients.
Ways to Improve Health Care Management Solutions
Identify your Long-term and Short-term Goals:
One of the first and most important steps in proper management is identifying your long and short-term goals. Same goes for care management. In the past, lack of clarity about goals has hindered healthcare. Narrowing down the goals and distinguishing between long and short-term ones will improve efficiency and quality. This goal setting should start from senior management and trickle down through the entire healthcare organization. A Harvard paper takes this point further to state that goals should match hospital mission statement. They state very astutely that goals should not focus on growing margins and profit but instead should be focused on improving patient care and quality of service.
Make Patient Engagement a Priority:
Patient engagement is necessary for a patient-centered care management system. Engaging patients helps care systems not only identify their needs but predict potential need and be proactive in solving them. One way to keep patients engaged is using the Mobile-first approach (smartphone apps) enables secure, real-time, multi-point messaging, assessments, and care planning to engage and support all care team members (patients, friends, families, social workers, care navigators, etc.) across multiple EMRs.
This patient-centered approach creates a momentum that improves the quality of care, patient satisfaction, and overall efficiency. Patient satisfaction is very important in care management because if a patient is unsatisfied in most cases it could be drastic. It could mean they are not healed properly or they are still ill. This leads to the next point which is having a proper patient feedback system.
Have a Patient and Family Feedback System:
Having a properly functioning feedback system not only helps improve efficiency but also helps build trusting relationships between patients and care providers. A feedback system should begin at the beginning of the process not after. Having patient interviews at the start to identify their fears and help them ease into the complex procedures improves the overall care system at all levels. When patients have a proper understanding of their illness they don’t feel as overwhelmed and value the care team more and communicate better thus creating a vicious circle of efficient communication.