How Healthcare Can Meet Changing Patient Expectations
Healthcare providers, organizations, and facilities may find it challenging to meet patients’ changing expectations. However, they should not ignore the enormous influence that expectations can have on the patient experience.
Research has suggested that patient expectations can influence their satisfaction with their care and their perceptions of their own health. The more that healthcare providers and organizations can address patient expectations, the more likely they are to earn and keep their patients’ trust.
Technology Changes Patient Expectations
One of the biggest influences on modern patient expectations is the rapid expansion of technology, both inside and outside of healthcare. The Internet and mobile technology has given consumers a previously unheard-of variety of options in almost every aspect of their lives—from finding a freelance gig to choosing what to have for dinner to requesting transportation.
Not surprisingly, consumers are beginning to expect that same level of choice for their healthcare. Twenty years ago, if an individual had a sudden health need, and could not visit their usual provider, their only option may have been a hospital emergency department. Now, with the expansion of urgent-care clinics, telehealth platforms, and even online emergency department check-in, patients have more options than ever for obtaining after-hours care.
As patients come to expect and demand a greater variety of healthcare options, this creates pressure for providers and facilities to meet those expectations.
Patient Expectations Challenge Healthcare Organizations
While technology has expanded consumer choice, it has also created additional challenges. Among these challenges is the protection of patient health data. Patients expect their providers to offer more online and mobile-friendly options, but they also expect these options to be secure. In 21st century healthcare, patients must trust that their healthcare organizations use reliable, up-to-date technology that keeps their protected health information secure.
Patient expectations, however, are not completely focused on technology. Patients also have expectations of their health organizations’ employees. Providers and support staff are expected to be experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate professionals. When visiting a healthcare provider or interacting with health facility staff, patients should safely assume that these individuals have been properly vetted.
Healthcare remains a deeply personal industry, and organizations must ensure that they are still serving individual patients with compassion and care. For healthcare organizations, this often starts with the individuals they hire.
Ensure That Employees Meet Patient Expectations
Healthcare staff, whether they are patient-facing or working behind the scenes, should be capable and trustworthy in their roles. To ensure that new hires meet these expectations, most companies conduct background checks to find potential red flags in the candidate’s credit score or criminal record.
However, this type of background check only provides information from a single point in time. It does not include any red flags that may emerge after the candidate has been hired. This can be insufficient, and even dangerous, when patient safety and trust are on the line.
A growing number of companies, including Uber, have chosen to implement continuous screening for existing employees. Continuous screening (also known as infinity screening) is a process that allows organizations to monitor employee records in real-time, which alerts them to concerns or threats as they occur.
Background check requirements for healthcare workers continue to vary among states, organizations, or facilities. However, continuous employment screening has grown in popularity as more police departments and court systems keep online records, and technological advances allow for more accurate data scanning and analysis. This can help healthcare organizations identify red flags sooner, mitigating potential risks.
If you are looking to make a change to your current employee screening program, PreCheck can help you implement a new screening approach based on your organization’s specific needs and preferences. Contact us today to get started.