Providing Quality Patient-Centered Care During a Pandemic
Written by Lindy Powell, Clinical Architect
In healthcare, it’s all about patient-centered care, which focuses on involvement of the patient in decisions made for their health.
Which means healthcare providers must be equipped to communicate with and engage patients in most every medium, media, and mode, explain choices patients have involving their own care, and move more into a clinical partnership with each patient. I.e., the patient – provider dynamic is no longer the provider simply dictating; the new dynamic is consulting.
The movement toward patient-centered care has contributed to providers being dually focused on improving patient outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction (which are — not coincidentally — two major considerations for reimbursement agencies as well).
Patient-centered care is not fueled by patients and providers alone: there is a multitude of external influences as well, most notably the web. In addition to providing endless amounts of information related to their health, the web enables patients to take action, access portions of their medical records, and more. Mobile apps that allow for communication, monitoring, and virtual visits have taken off as a result.
But the covid pandemic has highlighted many gaps where improvements are needed. For example, while virtual visits decrease the risk of exposure to covid and increase convenience for provider and patient alike, these visits can pose some restrictions on objective data gathering such as vital sign measurements, visual inspection, etc.
The good news is that most of these issues can either be eliminated or greatly improved with the use of a patient centered, collaborative cloud-based healthcare documentation system. ArganoArbela has created a system built on the Microsoft stack that facilitates easier transmission of patient information, treatment plans, documentation, and more, creating a more complete view of the patient for the provider, and putting more control over care into patients’ hands.
It starts with the patient record. The scope of this record is configurable and can include basic demographics, care team information, insurance information, and interaction documentation as deemed necessary. Figure 1 demonstrates some of the possibilities.
Figure 1: A patient record template.
To better service communication, the system supports omnichannel communication. Whether it be chat, texting, phone calls, virtual visits, or social communication, the patient can connect with their care team through most any means they choose, and their care team has a consistent, collaborative mechanism to communicate with patients, and to capture relevant information.
The system can do far more than facilitate communication and simplify record keeping. For example, in the event of a virtual visit, it can enable video chatting, which can help a provider gather objective data, and even assess physical symptoms (such as a wound that is potentially infected).
But that’s just the start, as another form of care currently being expanded upon is device monitoring: blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, activity monitor, pulse oximetry, thermometers, etc. A process for allowing the patient to obtain device readings while participating in a virtual visit can allow the provider to verify the technique used as well as the actual result. Results can then be documented in the patient record. As technological accuracy increases, virtual visits combined with device monitoring should easily decrease the need for in-person visits.
Integration to devices that have been prescribed and issued through a provider and DME company can be initiated, tracked, and then monitored within the patient record. Figure 2 highlights documentation that can be recorded regarding a specific device.
Figure 2: Device monitoring in a patient record.
The patient-centered care movement wasn’t created by the pandemic, but the pandemic absolutely increased interest and adoption across every tier of healthcare. It’s not just tools and technology, either: it’s a new way of thinking. Patients “shop” for their healthcare. They’re more informed and more in charge. Many forward-thinking providers now refer to them as clients.
As the patient-centered care movement continues to grow and improve, providers, facilities, healthcare systems, and insurance companies will be required to evaluate current practices, offerings, and regulations to better accommodate the trend to increased virtual visits, online education, and omnichannel communications. As patients become more knowledgeable and proficient with technology, demand will increase even further.
A solution for storing and managing patient records, for omnichannel communication, for facilitating virtual visits and device monitoring, and for empowering patients will be central to every healthcare organization’s success. And ArganoArbela is here to help you meet that growing demand and create more engaging, empowered, and impactful experiences for your clients.