Humanizing healthcare puts the patient at the center of their own experience. And rightfully so. While politicians and senior level executives decide what changes they would like to make to our healthcare in the United States, those individuals on the front line, who actually work with patients on a personal level, are more adept at humanizing the healthcare industry for the betterment of the patient.
What Does it Mean to ‘Humanize Healthcare’?
Although most individuals, especially those in healthcare, understand the concept of humanizing healthcare, it can become a bit convoluted when applied as a general practice. For most, it’s simply the right way to behave toward your patient and it provides them with a sense of dignity and respect. It’s patient-centered care.
The broader definition of humanizing healthcare is to recognize the individual’s living experiences and to treat him or her in a manner of worth. Somewhat akin to the “Golden Rule” yet complicated by laws, regulations and hospital or facility protocol, the idea of humanizing healthcare isn’t anything new. Over the past several decades hospitals have done nearly a 180° turn from the way patient care had been practiced. The limited visitors, darkened rooms, über clinical setting, and lack of information presented to the patient regarding their very own care are now a thing of the past.
Today’s healthcare environment is decidedly a more holistic one. Support of friends and family is encouraged, there’s more human interaction on many levels, beginning with medical staff and the dispensing and understanding of information to the patient. Hospital rooms are much more welcoming and conducive to stress-free recovery. Complementary therapies, spirituality and arts and entertainment are incorporated into patient care on some level today.
Humanizing Healthcare is More Efficient
What’s promising to medical facilities is that the awareness of a call for improving the way in which hospitals and care facilities go about humanizing healthcare leads to an improved bottom line. A hospital or healthcare facility that pays attention to the needs of the patient and the family becomes significantly more efficient and cost effective in the process.
What’s more is that the improvements in staff efficiency occur organically. When the patient is at the center of his or her own care, and supportive family and friends are engaged in that care, medical staff isn’t needed less urgent and non-medical matters. Here are a few more benefits to all that come from humanizing healthcare:
Improved Market Share: Of course running a healthcare facility is a business and, like all businesses, your facility can meet up with some steep competition. Patients across the country are becoming much more savvy and well-informed about their own care. This leads to certain expectations, primarily a healthcare facility which values the patient experience over all. By humanizing your approach you will see an increase in positive patient response and those seeking medical care will be drawn to your facility based on your patient-centric reputation.
Employee Satisfaction: Not only will staff members be more satisfied when your facility begins humanizing healthcare, but you will be able to retain quality team members. You’ll see a decrease in burnout among staff members, improved relationships among employees, and better staff-patient interaction. Lower turnover rates mean less billable time and effort spent on training new employees, and fewer dollars wasted due to inefficient practices by staff members.
Improved Ranking: As your positive patient response grows due to your efforts toward humanizing healthcare you’ll see your rankings improve. These rankings are dependent upon improved health outcomes for patients, better patient-care provider communication, positive patient-staff relationships, effective pain-management, clear and concise discharge information, and follow-up communication to assess progress.
Improved Patient Outcome: Of course the improved rankings and cost-effective results are secondary in humanizing healthcare. The priority for any healthcare facility should and must be improved patient outcome. The bottom line is a necessary “evil” however patient care is, and always must be, the number one reason for humanizing healthcare. When you put your patient at the center of his or her care you will find happier more satisfied individuals who will heal more quickly, experience less pain and complication, and seek to remain healthier.
Humanizing Healthcare for Less Stress
For the patient healthcare will always be stressful. Surgeries, illness and medical professionals can be scary. Humanizing healthcare doesn’t exactly turn hospital trips, a stay in a medical facility, or even the yearly check-up with a physician into a spa vacation, however it does help to alleviate many of the fears associated with medical care. Take time to humanize your patients experience by making them central to all you do and everyone is a winner.