Patient Engagement: Better Experiences for Better Outcomes

By Eric Becker | 10/30/2015

A positive patient experience is a primary factor in determining improved medical outcomes. Studies have shown that the better the experience a patient has during a medical visit, the more likely they are to follow through on the treatment plan to a successful outcome.

In terms of occupational medicine, if an injured worker feels welcomed and respected throughout the episode of care, it sets a positive tone for the overall patient experience. Such an experience also communicates to employees that, as an employer, you care about your employee’s well-being. This helps establish a strong sense of trust between employer and employee and helps to reduce the amount of dissonance an employee can have towards clinical visits. 

When a physician develops a positive rapport with a patient, understanding the elements that can impact his or her injury progression and helping them take an active role in recovery, it becomes the foundation for an effective return-to-work plan, and patients are more likely to comply with treatment recommendations and avoid re-injury. If the physician does a poor job and develops a negative patient experience an employee is less likely to take an active role in their recovery and return to work. In that case, there’s a risk of increased lost time, leading to escalating claim costs and decreased productivity because employees feel under-valued. Just like a typical primary care physician, a great physician-patient engagement can have a major impact on the overall outcome of a case. 

But what makes a good patient experience?

Patient-Centric Culture

A skilled, welcoming environment where the employee is the main focal point is vital in a return-to-work program. Respectful clinicians strive to make every patient feel welcome through their skillful care. Experienced clinicians can raise the standard of health by putting individuals first and treating them with clinician excellence as well as by focusing on their ongoing well-being. We care about what our patients think, we listen to their suggestions, and we work hard to make the patient experience best-in-class.

Communication to our Patients

Workers compensation is a scary and convoluted process. There is a lot of anxiety and fear associated with the process and in order to reduce those feelings there needs to be an effective consistent communication process in place throughout each step of the way. By producing a welcoming atmosphere and maintaining a consistent communication program, patients are more likely to actively participate in their own treatment. This reduces the risk of employees continuing to work while injured and the possibility of increasing the severity of the injury.

Lack of communication is often cited as a key reason for patient frustration, especially when they are told to sign or do something without knowing why. Patients should be informed about the workers’ compensation process and updated every step of the way to avoid frustration, as well as drive further engagement in treatment.

For those with multi-cultural workforces, this can be particularly challenging. An experienced occupational medicine provider should offer translation services to reducing the levels of anxiety some cultures might feel towards a clinical visit. Education is also an important part of patient care. A clinician’s ability to help educate patients on how to care for their injury or how to manage an existing condition provides a level of service that can have a direct impact on injury outcomes.

A Welcoming Facility for Multiple Services

Creating a welcoming facility starts outside the clinic. Everything from the exterior signing to the cleanliness of the windows is important in creating a positive patient experience. Providing a safe pleasant comfortable environment for patients is a key component in the delivery of occupational healthcare. Many times an injury care plan requires an employee to make multiple visits to the center for physical therapy and specialized treatment. If a patient feels uncomfortable in the medical center or apprehensive to treatment, they will often avoid returning for treatment at all.

A leading occupational healthcare provider should be able to provide your injured employees with a single one-stop-shop for all of their needs. This allows your employees to receive all their occupational medicine needs conveniently resulting in fewer visits which translate into a shorter time away from work. The one-stop approach also lets employers coordinate care simply with one center and monitor injury and non-injury results instead of dealing with multiple points of care.

Conclusion

In order to facilitate a quick and effective return-to-work plan, patients need to feel like they are a part of the process and feel as if they are not just another number. At Concentra, we provide a patient-centric culture, a consistent communication process, a warm and welcoming facility for all needs and encouragement for patients to express their opinion on how we can further improve our services. 

We understand the importance and impact employee health can have on a business. We also understand the physical, mental and emotional impact an injury can have on an employee’s ability to return to their prior level of functioning. Our patient focus helps an injured employee view themselves as an active partner in their recovery. That kind of patient engagement supports a more rapid return to work, and can limit the impact of the injury upon the business. From a welcoming environment to consistent and timely communication throughout the injury care process to engaging staff focused on caring for the needs of employees, Concentra unites all these elements to create a positive patient experience that supports improved medical outcomes. It’s this focus on a patient-centric culture that has led Concentra to be the nation’s leading provider in occupational medicine.

To learn more about our services please visit www.concentra.com