Can Technology Improve the Patient Experience at Hospitals?

| November 5, 2014

Dan Gatti, Executive Director HCAHPS S

When I discuss the changing technology landscape with hospitals, the discussion always leads to “Can I improve my HCAHPS” score?

BYOD, cloud applications exploding and wearable device change the working environment in every hospital. But how does this improve patient satisfaction? This becomes very personal and depends on the human experience and feeling of the patient in the hospital and how they are treated.

Technology improves efficiency, productivity and process which is not very personal. Can technology improve the patient experience resulting in better HCAHPS cores? The answer is Absolutely!

The biggest obstacle to improving the patient experience in healthcare is the hospital and how they compare themselves to the hospital in the same town or the closest to them. That will never work because the focus is wrong.

Focus on your patient and how you can be the best in every interaction with your patient. Make it personal, treat every patient as your loved one. Easy to say but often hard to do. Patients are customers and treat them with respect and love and great customer service.


What does this have to do with technology? The answer is Everything! Let’s look at the growing population of people that don’t speak English as their language at home. Or the deaf population throughout the U.S.

You have all heard “you never get a second chance at a first impression”. The first and last item in any list are by far the most easily remembered. In customer service, the same principle holds true: The first and last moments of a customer interaction are what a customer is likely to hold in memory as the permanent “snapshot” that encompasses the whole event.

How can technology make a permanent snapshot that improves your HCAHPS score? Here is a scenario at a major teaching hospital according to the personal patient care experience of the nursing staff. Having Stratus Video on-demand interpreters available at check in for LEP patients leaves a lasting positive impression. When the same patient is being rounded on or taught how to take care of him/herself at home is priceless. Having an iPad and being able to touch one button and connect to a live interpreter leaves another lasting snapshot.

Another experience was more damaging to a major hospital that did all the preparation for an LEP patient experiencing a life ending diagnosis. The doctor decided to make her rounds earlier than planned and entered the room without an interpreter and explained to the adult children the diagnosis. The children wanted an interpreter and the doctor ignored them.

Unfortunately, this happened even though the hospital staff was prepared and ready to provide an interpreter. This could have been avoided by having an iPad with VRI ready to connect.

Providing technology like Stratus Video Interpreting to LEP patients throughout their stay leaves a lasting snapshot that improves patient satisfaction and improves HCAHPS in a way that does not require a benchmark versus the other hospital in the same town. It requires your hospital to make lasting positive impression and there is no better way than having an outstanding medically certified video interpreter who can meet the register of the patient.

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