4/30/2020

Patient Education Can Eliminate 3 of Your Biggest Challenges

Healthwise Patient Education Team

Editor’s Note: Controlling costs and increasing revenue are crucial keys to meeting fiscal goals and providing quality care. In this blog series, we’ll look at how patient education can help lower readmissions, reduce ED overutilization, and generate revenue. In this post, you’ll learn new ways patient education works to meet significant challenges.

Healthcare organizations and providers feel pressure every day—the unpredictable healthcare climate, continuously changing regulations, an uncertain marketplace, staff shortages, the threat of costly penalties, and rising demands in the ED all make it more difficult to spend time treating patients with limited resources.

 

The struggle to close that resource gap becomes more difficult each year as populations age, skilled personnel become harder to retain, and larger amounts of time are spent on administrative concerns.

One of the most valuable tools at your disposal is patient education. By making the best use of your health education content, you’ll be more prepared to face these challenges while striving for the best possible outcomes for your patients.

Here are three challenges that patient education can help you overcome.

1. Your Risk of Penalties

For hospitals and health systems, using patient education translates to a lower risk of incurring costly penalties from excessive readmissions and low patient satisfaction scores.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) withhold money from healthcare systems that don’t meet certain criteria for “meaningful use” of health technology—exchanging electronic health information in a way that improves the quality of care.1 Providing accurate, simple patient education helps meet several of the Meaningful Use criteria, such as improving care coordination and engaging patients and families in their health.

Quality patient education at all points of care has also been shown to improve HCAHPS scores, which helps protect your Medicare payments.2 Patients who receive health education rate providers higher on questions about:

  • Communication with doctors and nurses.
  • Understanding medications and their side effects.
  • Care transition.
  • Post-discharge instructions.3

Health education prepares patients to play a bigger role in their health and helps you reduce avoidable readmissions and reduce overutilization in your ED. Studies show patients want more information about their health.4 Patients who receive information from their providers feel informed and understand how to care for themselves.

 

2. Your Staff’s To-Do List

Integrating patient education into clinical workflows helps your staff work more efficiently. Care becomes more streamlined when your patient education solution works with personal data to automatically deliver the most relevant content for each patient. Processes like accreditation, and subsequent surveys, are improved when you can demonstrate to surveyors that every patient is receiving the information they need.

When patient education is accessible and easy to find, it’s more likely to be delivered consistently and reliably. And record-keeping of each delivery is automated, so you and your staff are ready to produce documentation whenever you need to.

Health education that engages and teaches patients reduces clinician workload across the board. And the use cases go well beyond the point of care—you can provide the information virtually everywhere:

  • On your website
  • In your patient portal
  • During coaching sessions
  • Within disease management programs
  • After telehealth appointments
  • As part of your population health outreach campaigns

The best way to encourage your teams to distribute patient education regularly is to integrate it with your EMR. By building it into the platforms and software your clinical staff already uses every day, they won’t feel like you’ve added yet another task to their ever-growing list of to-dos. And, of course, the fewer the clicks, the better.

 

3. Your Limited Resources

Developing and managing health information on your own can pose unique challenges. It takes a lot of resources to keep patient education accessible to staff and to make sure it’s accurate and updated.

An enterprise health education solution that uses APIs saves you time and money. You don’t have to wait to install software updates—and you’ll know the health information you’re providing is the latest and greatest. Knowing that your health content is based in evidence and is regularly reviewed and updated by medical experts saves you from headaches and heartache.

Using trusted content to teach patients how to actively identify and treat health issues frees up resources for you to use in the work that can only be done by your organization.

Imagine a world in which your nurses could focus on caring for patients, your marketing team could focus on branding and community content, and your coaches could focus on people with the most serious medical conditions. The right patient-education solution can help make all of this happen.

 

Learn More About the Hidden Talents of Patient Education

Your healthcare system probably already distributes health education. But are you taking advantage of all the opportunities it provides? Is your team using it regularly? And are you using the best materials at each stage of the patient’s journey?

Well-designed, user-friendly patient education that engages and teaches can do so much more than most healthcare systems realize. It helps patients, of course, but there are also huge opportunities for your organization as well. By teaming up with the right content—and the right health education vendor—you can meet fiscal objectives, free up limited resources, and turn consumers into patients.

Of course, this does leave your organization with one tough question to answer: What amazing things will your staff accomplish with the extra time and money available to them now?

Read our eBrief, Generating Revenue and Controlling Costs—The Hidden Talents of Patient Education, to learn exactly how your organization can use patient education to save money, generate revenue, improve patient outcomes, and do more with your limited resources.


1https://www.cdc.gov/ehrmeaningfuluse/introduction.html
2https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/patient-satisfaction-reporting-and-its-implications-patient-care/2015-07
3https://hcahpsonline.org/globalassets/hcahps/survey-instruments/mail/effective-july-1-2020-and-forward-discharges/2020_survey-instruments_english_mail.pdf
4https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-news/americans-are-online-and-they-want-healthcare-information-6-key-notes.html

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