Worldwide consumers are slowly taking back control of the decision-making process and are eating away at the power that retailers, business owners and hospitals once had. Technology has become an accelerant in this shift by providing information that patients can access at a moment’s notice. This has led to a more informed consumer base who has embraced a “shop around before you buy” mentality. Hospitals can no longer simply open their doors, but they must have a complete understanding of their cliental and immerse themselves in every part of patient care from start to finish. If a patient’s needs are not met, he or she may not return again for care or possibly worse… the facility’s climate might consist of stress and discomfort, further damaging or stalling the well-being of the patient.
Environments should be designed with a focus on the elements that patients care about most, atmosphere, communication, experience and timeliness.
From the moment a patient walks into a facility every aspect can impact the atmospheric feel of the environment. The smell, sight, sound and human interaction can affect a patient. Facilities must be inviting, comforting, and even understanding to every individual patient. It does seem nearly impossible, but with the power of research and proper equipment, nearly every patient can feel relief knowing that they are within a healing environment.
A patient is receiving communication from the moment they walk into a facility. Check in/out, diagnosis, treatment, and future care are all major points of communication that must be completed clearly. The quality of patient communication can rely on volume in which it is given and the aura of the employee. The facility might have loud doors or rooms that allow for sound to bounce around it, creating a bad environment for communication. The facility may also not be equipped with more personal spaces for private phone calls or enable people to talk privately or quietly.
The first impression occurs far in advance of the patient entering the grounds of the facility. A strong brand identity that clearly conveys the culture and operational processes while aligning with the built environment can positively impact outcomes. For example, staff may be delivering exceptional care; however, an outdated built environment, can detract from the perception of the quality of care being given and impact satisfaction scores.
Timeliness is a mix of time for allotted care and waiting for said care. Hospitals should have a ‘flow’ to them so that a patient feels that their time matters and is well spent. They may perceive time as money lost when care is not being delivered in a timely manner. This perception can negatively impact patient satisfaction and retention outcomes. A well thought through process can be hindered by spatial constraints, which can lead to a level of dissatisfaction from staff and deviation from a standard workflow. These deviations can add time and stress to the patient visit.
Where to go from here? Explore the Enviah website.