In the News: Addressing Patient Experience Challenges
A range of factors contribute to the patient experience, from staff communication to the availability of drugs and medical supplies.
This month’s news roundup explores how hospitals and healthcare organizations are approaching a variety of challenges, from supply chain shortages to information security, to enhance the patient experience and improve patient care.
A recent survey involving 200 healthcare workers revealed that supply chain shortages have significantly impacted patient care across various healthcare sectors, with more than 20 essential drugs and medical supplies being in short supply. These shortages have led to delayed treatments and compromised care quality, with some cases resulting in medical errors. Healthcare workers have resorted to various measures, such as adding backup inventory, rationing, and educating staff, to cope with the challenges. Addressing these supply chain issues could potentially enhance patient care and reduce the administrative burden on healthcare staff.
The U.S. goal to increase domestic manufacturing of medical supplies faces challenges as key factories in Virginia, Maryland, and New Hampshire are not currently producing medical-grade synthetic rubber for exam gloves, despite initial plans. High costs for domestically sourced materials remain a significant obstacle, with manufacturers often opting for cheaper foreign alternatives. Long-term purchase contracts and reimbursements for American-made products are crucial for future pandemic preparedness and to ensure a reliable domestic supply of essential medical goods.
Amid the momentum toward value-based care and alternative payment models, experts stress the need for significant investments in business processes and technology infrastructure. A robust data engineering framework is crucial, allowing for comprehensive patient data analysis and sharing and informed decision-making. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can aid in automating tasks, enhancing data digitization, and improving patient outcomes, while supporting a network of networks for efficient healthcare delivery. Anticipated commitments to these developments are expected as healthcare organizations increasingly prioritize value-based care models.
The security of at-home acute care services is paramount, requiring security measures to protect sensitive hospital data and prevent potential disruptions to care delivery. As healthcare organizations aim to extend their services beyond hospital walls, the integration of security policies, staff and patient education, and technology implementations is crucial. This approach is essential in mitigating the risks posed by malicious actors targeting the Internet of Medical Things devices and preventing unauthorized access to patient information.
The latest safety report from the Leapfrog Group reveals that U.S. hospitals have made progress in reducing healthcare-acquired infections such as MRSA, CLABSIs, and CAUTIs, with two-thirds of the polled hospitals improving in at least one of these areas. However, patient experiences have continued to decline, marked by decreases in various patient-reported measures, including communication about medicines and the responsiveness of hospital staff. The report suggests that staffing shortages may contribute to this ongoing decline, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions to enhance the patient experience.