5 reasons why patient care is everything in healthcare

When you talk about patient care in healthcare, some people still don't get it.

When you boil it down it becomes common sense. However, one thing that I don't understand is when healthcare organizations don't see the value in putting patient care as the number one priority.

Like any industry, healing people is a business, and I understand that more than most.

I have seen first hand that when you make providing extraordinary patient care a priority, your health business will grow exponentially. It's common sense, treat patients like human beings and make it a priority to heal them quickly and properly then your health operation will be working efficiently and your referrals will become robust. It is shocking that so many healthcare organizations are only focused on the bottom line, and don't realize their revenue will improve once they start treating patients kindly and efficiently.

In the wound care management section of healthcare we are seeing this daily. I believe that companies that don't put patient care first will pay for it on the back end. In the modern world where everyone has access to media tools carrying a video camera, voice recorder and the Internet on their phone, poor patient care can quickly build up and sink even good hospitals and health systems. These are just a few reasons why putting patient care first is a must for all healthcare organizations and companies.

1. It's just the right thing to do.
A mentor of mine, Mike Comer, happens to be the CEO and Founder of Wound Care Advantage, the company where I work. At the end of last year he wrote a blog called Finding What You Hate, which beautifully captures the feelings that he and his family felt when his own father received insufficient patient care while he was passing away from cancer. Basically, it is the reason that he created his company and puts such a priority on providing great patient care. I think about this blog post often because my own father has been fighting lung cancer for the past two year and often doesn't receive the quality of patient care he should. Besides it being the ethical thing to do, it is also a smart business decision in healthcare.

2. Patients need to be treated as an individual.
In wound healing, each and every patient is different. Many of our patients in our partnering hospitals across the country have other very serious conditions that have contributed to their advanced wounds. Our clinical teams treat patients with diabetes, obesity, PAD, cancer, and other serious diseases and conditions daily. Successful outpatient wound centers create individualized healing plans for their patients instead of the traditional one-size fits all approach.

3. Patient satisfaction is more than just patient satisfaction.
We live in a world where everyone's opinion is heard, which means when patients are not happy, they can go online and complain about it. This has tremendous impact on a hospital's brand and their future business. Hospitals are even starting to hire patient satisfaction officers since Medicare started tracking patient satisfaction. If someone has a bad experience at a restaurant or coffee shop they are likely to rant about it to their community of friends and family online. So, when someone receives horrible medical care, of course they are going to vent online. As Lena Sun of the Washington Post reports, patient satisfaction has long been ignored by the healthcare industry and savvy health systems are taking control.

4. Referrals matter more than you think.
If you provide great patient care it will come back to you in patient referrals. Patients who are treated well and cared about tell their friends and family. When I am digging through our client data at WCA I find extreme pride that we have a 98 percent patient satisfaction rate and that 81 percent of referring physicians sent us multiple numbers of patients in 2014. It is basic business knowledge that if you treat your existing customers well, things will go more smoothly for your business in the future.
According to TechCrunch, one in every 20 Google searches is now about healthcare and that number is growing. People are finding hospitals, health systems and outpatient centers with negative reviews on sites like Yelp and others. This directly impacts their decisions on where to seek care.

5. Modern healthcare requires everyone to go above and beyond.
Healthcare professionals need to remember why most of us got into this industry. The majority of us are here because we want to help people. It is easy to become numb and forget the importance of providing great care. In wound care we know that nutrition and wound healing are closely linked. When our clinicians give our wound care patients nutritional advice it is to help them avoid recurring wounds in the future. It is as simple as taking a wider look at the patient and not just treating why they are visiting you on a specific day. It is about empowering them with tools and information so that they are intimately involved in their own healing process.

James Calder is the Director of S.O.A.R. at Wound Care Advantage. He writes about healthcare, technology and social media. He also volunteers his time as Chief Marketing Officer at the Save A Leg, Save A Life Foundation He can be reached at jim@thewca.com or on Twitter @jimmycalder.

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