How to Improve Quality of Care

January 3 2024
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Helping patients is the heart of the healthcare industry. Today, more than ever, patients want more than reliable services or good outcomes — they want their entire care journey to be positive from beginning to end.

Quality of care speaks to how a patient experiences a health provider’s services. This could be a caring nurse who takes the time to listen or a responsive physician with a cheery bedside manner. Improving patient care plays a vital role in patient outcomes, improving the overall quality of their care journey and even helping the recovery process.

So, how can your facility take a more patient-centered approach? Let’s dive in and learn how to improve the quality of care for the patients in your healthcare center. 

 

What Is Quality of Care in Healthcare?

A patient and their family know quality when they experience it. That’s because quality of care is experiential yet tangible. Quality of care is a provider, center or organization's ability to meet patients' needs and expectations. 

Quality care of patients can be difficult to define. So, here are some criteria that help healthcare teams know if they are meeting the highest standards of quality care:

  • Patient-centered: Care is respectful, responsive and guided by a patient’s needs, values and preferences.
  • Safe: Care is intended to help patients and avoid injury or harm.
  • Effective: Care is evidence-based and focused on best practices.
  • Efficient: Care is not wasteful of time, energy or resources. 
  • Timely: Care is delivered promptly — providers strive to reduce wait times and delays in treatment and diagnosis.
  • Equitable: Care is consistent across populations and shows no regard to ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location or other characteristics.

 

How to Improve Patient Quality of Care

From skilled nursing facilities (SNF) to assisted living centers, quality care is foundational in any setting. So, how can you improve patient care? Spending more money is not the answer. The United States consistently spends more than other developed nations yet performs worse in common health metrics. 

If you’re ready to change how you and your healthcare team prioritize quality care, here are some initiatives you can use as a starting point. 

Measure, Monitor and Identify

A great place to start your patient care endeavors is to measure patient satisfaction. When evidence-based best practices guide your team’s choices, quality is the natural result. However, every healthcare organization has room for growth. Monitoring should include tracking:

  • Outcomes.
  • Medical errors.
  • Patient safety.
  • Resources utilized.
  • Clinical processes.

Reflection is essential. It helps you identify where improvements are needed and discover if any changes you’ve implemented are effective. 

Connect With Patients

Patient-centered care emphasizes the values and experiences of the individual. After all, the healthcare industry exists to care for patients and help them achieve wellness. A patient’s overall understanding of their recovery journey can either hinder or enable healing.

Encourage your patients to ask questions or express their concerns. When they feel included in the decision-making process and are armed with knowledge about their health, this can lead to improved satisfaction and outcomes. 

Involve Families

Most patients do not walk their health journey alone. Genuine patient-centric care means embracing the support and contributions of their loved ones. Involving families is collaborative. Providers should make an effort to listen, build trust and share information. 

Instead of an adversary, families become advocates in the overall care plan. This empowers your healthcare team to use their energy more efficiently. This trust also enhances a patient’s care experience.

Improve Access to Care

Quality care is timely. It’s there precisely when a patient needs it. However, many patients experience barriers that hinder their access to quality care. Healthcare centers must take note of the people and populations they serve, asking questions like:

  • What are their languages, beliefs and customs?
  • Are there physical limitations, such as cost or transportation?
  • Who are the underserved populations?

Improved access means your center considers the factors that impact access to care and takes steps to overcome any barriers. This could be connecting with community groups in your area or educating your team on how differing customs can impact a patient’s experience. 

Extend the Reach of Your Care Team

Communication is pivotal to quality of care. When all healthcare team members work together, they can see continuous improvement and ensure patients are getting the right help at the right time. However, information can get lost in the mix when a patient’s care involves multiple health professionals. This can lead to redundant tests and procedures, missing patient data and inefficient overall care. 

To extend the reach of your care team, here are a few steps your center can take:

  • Care coordination: Care coordination is a cooperative effort on the part of all healthcare providers to work together to offer quality care that’s timely, effective and efficient. When patient care is coordinated, you can better understand the needs of the individual and take actionable steps for better outcomes. 
  • Telehealth services: Telemedicine allows providers to care for patients without an in-office visit. This service saves money and frees medical teams to focus their energy and resources better. It also increases access to patients who may be unable or unwilling to come in for care.
  • Remote patient monitoring: Technology enables medical teams to collect real-time patient data remotely. Remote patient monitoring can be used for acute or chronic conditions to ensure accurate patient data, provide a more relaxed environment, and enhance the overall patient experience.

 

How Can a Physiatrist Improve Patient Satisfaction in Your Facility?

Every center has unique needs. Yet, patient satisfaction is a common concern among SNFs, rehab facilities and other acute care centers. Prioritizing patient care ensures your facility has a trusted reputation for respect and outstanding services.

A simple solution to help improve overall patient satisfaction is hiring a skilled and experienced physiatrist. These medical professionals specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Beyond that, they’re specifically trained to enhance your care facility's nursing and rehabilitative efforts. How can one individual do that?

  • Focused care coordination: Physiatrists lead the charge regarding patient care. With a skilled physiatrist leading the way, your facility can experience concentrated care coordination. This professional is adept at developing patient care plans and coordinating the efforts of disparate health providers to ensure cohesive treatment from beginning to end. 
  • Tailored care plans: Physiatrists can equip your facility to see the bigger picture and provide more patient-centric care. Their advanced training allows them to work more closely with patients to develop a personalized care plan that focuses on the individual’s needs. Treatments can be tailored to unique patient goals, such as managing pain, enhancing mobility or restoring strength. Tailored care plans result in improved patient satisfaction.
  • Advanced training: Physiatrists bring the latest medical advances to the facilities they serve. From patient data technology to specialized clinical techniques, patients can benefit from a physiatrist’s unique skill sets. 

Benefits of Physiatrists for Patients

Quality of care centers around the patient. If you’re ready to improve outcomes, incorporating a physiatrist into your team is beneficial. Their extensive, specialized training makes physiatrists adept at managing complex health concerns, including disorders and diseases that impact functional ability. Their over-arching knowledge includes conditions of the nervous system, muscles, bones and joints.

With a physiatrist on your team, your patients can see tangible improvements to their overall health, including:

  • Better pain management.
  • Enhanced mobility.
  • Reduced physical deficits.
  • Restored strength.
  • Improved independent living. 

 

How Can Medrina Help You?

We are the country’s largest group of skilled physiatrists. We partner with SNFs and inpatient rehab facilities (IRFs) in tangible ways to improve patient care and optimize operations. We connect you with an outstanding physiatrist or physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) services. We also arm your healthcare center with the support you need to do your job well.

Medrina offers a variety of world-class programs to ensure your patients receive the comprehensive care they need to be completely satisfied, including:

Medrina’s top priority is to connect your facility with an outstanding physiatrist. We contract the most skilled physiatrists nationwide. Every hire is skilled provider with years of specialized training in a variety of conditions, from neurological care to musculoskeletal health. 

 

Improve Patient Care in Your SNF With Medrina

Improve overall patient care in your skilled nursing facilities or rehabilitation center. Contact Medrina today. We’re excited to partner with you to enhance how your patients experience the care they receive from your healthcare team.

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