Not Just Any Help Will Do! Moments That Matter on the Patient Journey

Help at the Moments That Matter Along the Patient JourneyOur previous post called attention to the lonely, disjointed steps along the path of patient journey. Lacking a dedicated guide, patients are left to weigh their difficult care decisions alone.

We believe that the power to create a cohesive, connected patient experience is within reach. So how do we get there?

Specifically, what must organizations do to begin this patient centered evolution?  And how will they know where aid is most essential along the way? Interpreting patient journey and mapping patient experience are the first steps. Primary consideration must focus on patient need: her physical and emotional struggles, the barriers she must overcome to access help, participants in the system with whom she interacts and the channels across which it all occurs. Experience mapping identifies the areas of greatest opportunity to affect health outcomes and change the value of patient experience. We call these crucial points along the patient journey “moments that matter.”

Consider an example at precisely one of these vital instances – hospital discharge:

Jane S. is admitted with acute symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Following intensive care, she is stabilized and discharged with limited instructions on medication dosage from the attending doctor. From this perspective, it would seem her journey has ended. In reality, it only begins – Jane must now learn how to manage this new disease and master self-care while proactively changing a lifestyle that was years in the making. Regrettably, at this stage the system closes its doors. Left without further assistance in regard to behavioral changes or medication adherence, over 50% of patients like Jane end up back in the hospital within six months. This outcome is good neither for Jane nor for hospitals since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act tied hospital reimbursement rates to patient readmission. Alternatively, if Jane were provided with support at this important stage, she would be better equipped for the care challenges that lie ahead of her, motivated to begin those life-affirming changes, and significantly less likely to return to the hospital. In this example, hospital discharge is the “moment that matters” since providing support at this stage has a potential to significantly affect Jane’s health outcomes.

Are there any organizations going above and beyond in helping the patient to find their way? Moving forward, we would like to highlight a number of them in our posts. For today, here are 3 examples relevant to Jane’s story:

  • Inova Health Systems has illustrated their commitment to patient need by introducing a new executive position – Vice President of Patient Experience – and hiring a non-medical professional with a strong customer experience background to provide exceptional patient experiences within their hospitals and outpatient facilities.
  • Wellframe promotes home recovery and adherence; its mobile app allows doctors to remotely track chronic illness patients’ progress at home and provide feedback when necessary. Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, they will continue to engage with their doctor by reporting back on daily, personalized to-do lists sent to their mobile device.
  • CarePort links patients with aftercare, helping them to find quality post-acute care customized to their needs, following hospital release. Because many patients discharged from hospitals still require a number of specific rehabilitation and treatment services, they often have difficulty finding an appropriate provider quickly and efficiently.

Admittedly, there is no single resource available to comprehensively guide patients through such critical phases, though we applaud those pioneering organizations forging ahead in putting patients first. Do you know of other innovators? Please share your examples with us and our readers.

Thank you for staying tuned to Nuvera’s posts dedicated to innovations in patient experience.

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