Who is Responsible for Good Patient Care?

Who is Responsible for Good Patient Care?

In order to determine who is responsible for good patient care, it is important to have a clear understanding of what exactly patient care is. Patient-centered care, also known as patient care, focuses on the patient’s interaction with their provider. The goal is to involve the patient in every aspect of the decision-making process regarding their current health plan. Patient engagement and care is also a collaborative effort. It requires active participation and effort from both parties, rather than any one side over the other. There are ways both sides can enhance the entire patient experience. Providers: Be assessable. If it is impossible for a provider to be available, ensure the patient knows how to contact someone should a crisis arise. Minimize wait times as much as possible. For the most part, patients understand when a situation occurs that pushes their appointment time back. However, by keeping the lines of communication open as to when they should expect to be seen, the patient is even more likely to display understanding. Provide information. Understand that appointments may be overwhelming at times and not all received information will be retained. Confirm with the patient they have the necessary documents or access to more specific information should they need it. Patients: Track entire health history. This alleviates any issues of provider or insurance changes, and provides a great resource should any health related questions arise. Be prepared. This means preparation for upcoming visits as well as unforeseen situations that may come up. Establish a proxy or power of attorney that is able to make decisions if needed. Ask questions. It is imperative...
Infant/Child Immunizations Schedule: What You Need to Know

Infant/Child Immunizations Schedule: What You Need to Know

Every year The CDC, Centers for Disease Control, releases their national recommendations for child immunization schedules. This guideline outlines the various vaccines as well as recommends timeframes for children from birth until 18 years. Unfortunately, it is not always feasible for families to follow this schedule for a variety of reasons. One of the most obvious reasons for missed immunizations is that parents and/or caregivers simply missed or forgot about the appointment. Many times, there are conflicts that get in the way of rescheduling these appointments. This easily pushes back appointments weeks, or even months. Insurance has also played a huge part in well-child visits, and has not always been readily available for everyone. A change in employment or the sheer cost alone may have caused lapses in coverage and then forced caregivers to schedule out appointments, which in turn causes a delay in the immunization schedule. How relevant is a recommended schedule then? The CDC experts began publishing a catch-up immunization schedule for children ages 4 months to 18 years, or for those that fell more than one month behind of schedule. Rather than offering suggestions based on age, this schedule provides intervals. For example, birth administration is normal for the Hepatitis B vaccine, the second dose between 1 and 2 months of age, and then the third dose is between 6 and 18 months. The catch-up schedule alters this by suggesting 4 weeks between dose one and two, and then a minimum of 16 weeks after the first does but no more than 24 weeks. As with anything in life, once there is a deviation from the...
Clear Patient Discharge Instructions Increase Patient Satisfaction

Clear Patient Discharge Instructions Increase Patient Satisfaction

Beginning in October of 2014, Medicare has been fining hospitals with high readmission rates and low HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores. In order to avoid these fines, facilities must find ways to reduce readmission rates and provide better patient experiences. The main complaints that facilities get from their patients are the following:     Confusion regarding diagnosis Confusion regarding medication management Unclear discharge instructions No scheduled follow up appointments It is difficult for all parties involved when there is a patient diagnosis. Many times the patient is overwhelmed at being in a hospital, and distractions are everywhere. It is not until they are back home when they are able to fully digest all of the information they just received. It is very important to send patients home with patient discharge instructions that are specific to them. The internet is full of information, and a patient that is uncertain about their diagnosis will seek clarification and runs the risk of an inaccurate self-diagnosis. A Care Transition Tracker includes a checklist that allows the patient to be proactive and accountable with his or her healthcare. The checklist reinforces confirmation of a patient’s understanding as to their care, while also keeping any other necessary information, including medication management, in one easy location. Medications cause a great deal of confusion for many patients. Remembering what they are for, when to take them, potential side effects etc. are all large contributors to an increase in readmission rates. Facilities can easily reduce this confusion by providing education to patients and their families or caregivers, and providing them with a medication...

Improving Medication Management

Medications are involved in 80 percent of all treatments and can potentially affect every aspect of a patient’s life. Each year, over one million Americans experience a health problem because they do not take their medicine as their doctor prescribed. To help improve this problem, hospitals are providing additional patient education through medication management. Medication management is the effective use of medications by optimizing safe, educational and appropriate use. Studies show it can reduce 60 percent of hospital readmissions that relate to misuse, as well as help to improve patient satisfaction. The transition from hospital to home may cause confusion for a patient as there are many things to consider. For example, will there now be any type of a medication change? Is there a clear understanding of which medications to take, how often, and for how long? The most common reasons patients fail to take their medication properly is forgetfulness, unwanted side effects, the medications themselves are too expensive, or they experience difficulties with getting a prescription filled. The consequences to any of these can be potentially harmful, or even fatal. A medication management plan is not only necessary to have in place, but also needs to involve clear communication with all parties involved, including the patient, the doctor and the pharmacist. By working together, they will help oversee prescriptions and answer any questions that may arise. Tips to help patients manage their medications:   1) Be informed about all medications Make sure the pharmacy label says why the patient needs this medication, what the medication is for and the proper way to administer it. Keep an up-to-date...
Judging a Book by its Cover

Judging a Book by its Cover

Recently I had the opportunity to participate as a judge in a media awards event.  This was my first time doing this and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The materials, both print and video, were submitted by consumer health professionals who work in consumer health education fields.  Content, format, success in reaching the targeted audience and overall quality were the criteria used in determining their score. There were hundreds of entries from vendors across the nation. From a simple credit card sized immunization schedule, to an elaborate worksite wellness kit that included a DVD, t-shirt and poster. I judged disease and injury prevention information, patient education information, consumer decision-making information as well as other miscellaneous health information.  I reviewed so much information that by the end of the day I could identify most vendors with a blink of an eye. Some of the entries were excellent, some were good and some were average. The ones that scored excellent had well written- easy to follow format and clear content. Most importantly, they provided a compelling cover or tagline, one that engaged me from the start- I didn’t have to think about what it was they were trying to convey.  I knew what I liked almost immediately and spent more time reviewing those in particular than those with less appealing covers. Let’s face it, we all buy with our eyes first, or judge books by their covers.  To prove this, think about the last time you bought a car.  You didn’t begin your search by looking at the interior.  You began your search looking at the outside.   Judge your...