The Link Between Medical Equipment Planning and Patient Satisfaction
How smart medical equipment planning practices contribute to improved patient outcomes.
Patient satisfaction is a top priority of most teams within a healthcare setting—and for good reason.
Aside from an organization’s desire to create a best-in-class healthcare experience, patients are increasingly considering reviews and ratings when choosing where to receive healthcare. And with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, patient satisfaction— as measured by Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey results—even dictates a health system’s Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.
How can the medical equipment planner help?
The medical equipment planner has the unique challenge of delivering on the patient satisfaction initiative by creating a comfortable environment that minimizes environmental stressors while balancing:
- The needs of the patient
- The workflow of the clinicians
- The requirements of the technology
- The constraints of the project, including budget and timeline
By translating these considerations into the selection and placement of the medical equipment, an equipment planner can help create an environment and workflows that contribute to satisfaction all around.
Here are seven ways a medical equipment planner can contribute to patient satisfaction.
1. Ensure patient-friendly flows throughout the facility.
During the design phases of a project, the medical equipment planner—in close partnership with the clinicians, architects and patient experience teams—contributes to designing workflows for the facility that constantly ask the questions:
- Who are our patients?
- What are their needs?
- How will they flow through this facility and their appointment?
Keeping these questions at the forefront helps ensure a final design that best accommodates the specific patient needs for that facility. For instance, a workflow may be enhanced by adding a satellite lab next to a chemotherapy area so that a patient does not need to travel to the other end of the building to reach the lab after a treatment. A medical equipment planner can help watch for these scenarios and make recommendations throughout the project. Similarly, an appropriately placed coffee station could provide comfort to a patient or guest in the right place, at the right time.
In addition to the facility workflows, the patient’s experience within their hospital room also needs to be carefully considered. Here, a deep understanding of how a clinician flows through a visit can help guide the equipment planner to where equipment should be placed within a room, or where items need to be hung on a wall. For instance, a patient will remember if the clinician had to walk around them to reach the sharps bin, or if their visitor was constantly bumped by the door because the guest chair was placed too close to the door.
2. Stay in-tune with equipment failure rates and FDA recalls.
Equipment downtime quickly translates to delays in patient care (not to mention, potential lost revenue for the hospital). An equipment planner who stays up to date on FDA recalls and monitors the performance of various medical equipment manufacturers can advise against equipment models that are more susceptible to downtime.
Did you know… Equipment planners working in Attainia’s equipment planning platform can leverage the Data Insights integration for easy access to equipment performance data, including reliability, failure rates, mean time between failures and more. This data is aggregated from millions of data points across thousands of assets, so planners can use the data to make purchasing recommendations with confidence.
3. Consider refurbishing equipment.
When patients enter a new or renovated healthcare facility, they expect the facility—and all the items in it—to feel shiny and new. Cosmetically refurbishing existing equipment can make beds feel brand new, or take the scratches out of an MRI machine, and deliver a modern and fresh patient experience— within budget.
4. Drive equipment standards for continuity of care.
Standards provide a variety of benefits that translate directly to continuity and consistency in patient care. Healthcare workers can provide the highest level of care when their environment and equipment is predictable. By standardizing medical equipment, a clinician can effortlessly move from room to room, and floor to floor—and keep their focus on the patients. Also, standards help minimize equipment downtime by ensuring the biomedical engineering team has parts on hand for maintenance and is already trained on the equipment make and model.
Did you know… Attainia makes creating and leveraging standards easy. Customizable room templates provide equipment planners with an actionable way to organize the equipment their organization’s stakeholders want in their buildings and rooms. These templates can be generic (including manufacturer and model number) or specific (including exact contract pricing, a quote, or specific vendor) as an organization needs them to be.
5. Watch out for those clocks and trash cans.
Are the clocks easy to find in areas where patients will want to see them? Are they more conspicuously placed in areas where the wait time might be longer? Does a patient or visitor have to go on a mission to find a receptacle to throw away their trash? These seemingly simple items can cause a big irritation to patients and visitors if not strategically placed.
6. Be aware of, and recommend, emerging technologies.
Medical equipment manufacturers are constantly releasing product innovations that help deliver a state- of-the-art experience for patients. An equipment planner can help identify new technologies and evaluate if new devices will interface with existing systems and equipment.
7. Help facilitate the right-sizing of equipment to free up budget.
While clinicians may request the top-of-the-line model of a device, an equipment planner can help assess a variety of equipment options to ensure the right level of technology (and investment) is specified. The patient experience team is typically looking for inexpensive ways to add a comforting touch for patients, so guiding clinicians to specify a less-expensive (but functionally appropriate) device could free up budget for that great two-story fireplace at the hospital entrance, for example.
Did you know… Attainia’s industry-leading medical equipment catalog gives planners an easy way to drive conversations around equipment selection. Quickly access technical documents, spec sheets, MEP data, pricing and more for more than 70,000 products via a search in the Attainia catalog to facilitate a quick comparison of equipment models, and help guide budget-appropriate decisions.
Do you want to see how Attainia’s powerful platform for medical equipment planning can streamline and accelerate your next healthcare construction or renovation project?
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