November 26, 2021

6 Ways Effective Patient Outreach Impacts Health Outcomes

by Psych Times Staff

When it comes to your patient’s health, what you do after can be just as crucial as what you do while they’re at the hospital. It’s important to make patients feel that you are committed to their total health. Building a relationship with them will be the most beneficial asset to have when guiding them to recovery. 

The road to their recovery can be fraught with complications, and it’s up to you to guide them every step of the way. Investing in an effective patient outreach program is believed to be one of the best aftercare solutions you can provide for your patients. Read up to learn more about the effects that excellent outreach programs have on recovery.  

Reduces the Chances of Readmission

It can be beneficial to teach patients the importance of aftercare. Strict adherence to doctor’s orders can be the difference between a full recovery and a return trip to the hospital.   

Sometimes people forget, or they feel well enough that they believe a follow-up visit may be unnecessary. They may also feel overloaded with instructions and information when they get discharged from the hospital. While every practitioner wishes to give each patient the time and attention to answer their queries, the sheer number of patients they attend every day can make it a challenge.

Going the extra mile is also incredibly important when you’re running an addiction recovery center; the chance for readmission is already high, and being able to reach patients where they are is key to keeping their sobriety journey going for longer.

Additionally, people process information in different ways and at different speeds. One channel of communication won’t work for every individual, so taking this into account is a start. 

Giving patients the option of which method of communication—whether it be through online apps, physical mail, or telephone calls—can help ease their minds. Some may find it challenging to learn new technology, so keeping their options open will be appreciated. 

Some excellent methods that doctors can use to show empathy include:

  • Making eye contact
  • Taking note of personal nonverbal cues
  • Following up on details that patients share
  • Showing genuine curiosity for the person
  • Putting away other distractions
  • Reassuring patients with physical gestures  

Investing in your organization’s patient outreach program will benefit both patients and doctors. Medical practitioners can receive updated info on their wards, and patients can reach help faster without waiting months for appointments. 

Moreover, helping your patients avoid readmission can increase their quality of living. This concern can be addressed by providing the patients with convenient access.

Streamlines Future Visits

Follow-up appointments are a necessary practice for patient healthcare, but pushing through with them may prove to be a challenge. With the average waiting time for an appointment being two weeks or more, it’s not uncommon to feel rushed when you finally see a doctor or even forego having the appointment altogether.

Improving your patient outreach program can aid you in organizing and shortening the waiting queue. Aside from increasing accessibility, determining patients’ pain points becomes another aspect that your outreach program must aim to perform.

Patients can have the flexibility to ask their physicians questions without waiting for their next appointment to ask them. Addressing needs like this and others outside of appointments can help to streamline the flow of future visits. Consequently, this can result in better checkups and more effective treatments.

By using an updated record of patients, you can start to gather information on the average length and nature of patient appointments. Using them as a guide for future adjustments may not only help patients feel acknowledged but also free physicians to give attention to more people in their care.

With a streamlined system, you may reach the possibility of cutting wait times by more than half. Additionally, these guided steps can significantly increase the quality of care you provide for your patients. 

Increases Patient Satisfaction in their Healthcare

On the one hand, doctors must detach themselves from the situation in order to diagnose patients without bias. Facts and logic must lead the way in sizing up their professional opinion.

But appearing too aloof or focusing too much on the technical aspects of healthcare can alienate and dishearten patients from completely trusting their physicians.  

When experiencing stressful situations caused by health problems, it is natural for patients to look for empathy from others, especially their healthcare providers. Something as simple as eye contact can be a soothing balm to their discomfort. 

Outreach programs are believed to bridge this gap and open communication. Reaching out to patients after their treatments can show commitment to their overall health. This constant engagement will help build the relationship between physicians and those in their care.    

In addition to these, it also empowers patients and their loved ones to ask questions about their ailments. Identifying their concerns and using communication channels to educate them correctly can make the healing process more enlightening.

Increases Employee Morale

When patients feel good about their healthcare, so do the people who provide it for them. Seeing patients with more confidence in the system positively affects your medical staff as well. 

Outreach programs are a way of monitoring your patients. Having this asset readily available can lead to more engaging and productive interactions between your medical workers and their patients. Additionally, seeing the outcome of their hard work can be reinvigorating for your employees. 

Realizing that they have made a difference in a person’s life can ease off the stress in the situation. On-the-job benefits, such as these, can significantly affect retention rates too. Moreover, these employees may help create positive environments not only for the patients and their families but also for their co-workers.

A method of incorporating the social aspect of the work into outreach programs can be through telephone follow-ups. Personalized greetings may energize patients into attending their appointments. Meanwhile, medical personnel who handle this task can get updated on patients they previously held.

Motivated employees can be indispensable when it comes to providing care for people in need. They can be soothing to patients and family members while actively participating on the front lines. Furthermore, the quality they provide can be difficult to replicate.

Eases Stress from Financial Burdens

Stress can be a significant factor in patient healing, whether it stems from them or their environment. Anxiety in patients tends to spike when slow progress or a relapse occurs. This can then translate into a longer stay at the hospital or readmission.

When a person is recovering from an ailment or procedure, creating a peaceful environment will be the next step to aid their healing. It would be best to keep their thoughts easy and light as they shift their attention to recovery. Their mental state will heavily factor into their overall health as well.

Patient outreach programs are excellent centers for education. Such programs are not limited to the physical and moral aspects; they can also provide tools to those caring for loved ones. A curated library of the financial aspect of healthcare can answer any questions they have or clarify their concerns. 

It can also be beneficial to have a guide on charitable organizations that assist with certain cases. Having all these within your program can make people better understand the hows and whys of the expenses they are likely to incur. A firm understanding of these matters may be all they need to avoid the mental stress from financing a hospital stay. 

Financial responsibilities are necessary when healthcare is involved. It’s used to provide services rendered and supplies used while under supervision in and out of the hospital. By ensuring that education on this matter features in your patient outreach program, families can focus on providing a better atmosphere for their loved ones.

Better Quality of Care

Assuring patients’ recovery from their ailments is what matters most when providing healthcare. This should be at the heart of the patient outreach programs you put into effect.

By focusing on this crucial point, you implement programs that commit to every person’s well-being. Even after undergoing life-changing situations, their quality of living must remain at a level that ensures continued enjoyment in life.  

A summary of things that can improve patient outreach programs can be:

  • Actively listening to patients needs
  • Connecting with patients on a personal level
  • Delivering information in an understandable and timely manner
  • Acknowledging concerns and valuing their trust

Your outreach programs provide avenues for engagement, education, and access. All of which are crucial in a person’s health outcomes. Giving care and attention to improving your programs will easily translate into care and attention to your patients.

Conclusion

Patient outreach programs are an excellent addition to have at any healthcare facility. It provides focus and attention to things that would otherwise fall through the cracks. Moreover, it extends support to the patients, their families, and the staff. Investing the time and resources to create a cohesive program will be a good sign of the quality of care you provide your patients.


Psych Times Staff

At Psych Times, we strive to help increase the awareness of mental health, to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to provide our readers with high-quality content to help them cope with the stresses of everyday life.

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