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Enhancing the Patient Experience to Attract and Retain Patients

August 17, 2021

Enhancing the Patient Experience to Attract and Retain Patients

Hospitable environments are essential to patient satisfaction. Learn how lighting plays a central role.

With patients increasingly being regarded as “consumers” of healthcare (with increasingly high expectations), patient experience now ranks among the top performance indicators in healthcare. But what makes a great patient experience?

A 2020 Social Forces study revealed that when patients evaluated the quality of their hospital experiences, overall hospitality and “room and board” factors had a halo effect on their satisfaction. While it’s understandable for healthcare executives to prioritize medical quality and skills, they shouldn’t ignore the “soft skills” that play an outsized role in patient comfort and experience.

Given the competitive nature of consumer-driven healthcare, some facilities have pulled out all the stops to create more hospitable environments and drive up patient satisfaction scores. In highly competitive markets, it’s not uncommon for hospitals to boast features like hotel-like lobbies, private rooms and balconies, and immaculate landscaping.

But there is one investment that promotes more hospitable healthcare environments and can pave the way for other business improvements: lighting. Let’s look at some of the lighting strategies savvy healthcare executives use to boost both patient experiences and the bottom line.

Boost patient wellbeing and satisfaction with high-quality LED lighting

Many studies have pointed to a correlation between lighting and human wellbeing; this is no different in healthcare settings, where lighting affects moods, sleep quality, stress levels, and even staff performance—for better or worse.

“Clearly, an important goal for facility designers should be to fulfill human needs for light and provide a high-quality lighted environment,” wrote Anjali Joseph, Ph.D., in a study for The Center for Health Design.

Facilities should look to maximize daylight levels as much as possible, minimizing artificial light that can negatively impact mood and circadian rhythms. Upgrading to LED lighting not only saves energy throughout healthcare facilities but offers more aesthetically pleasing optics, dimming ability, and a higher CRI (color rendering index) that makes it more similar to natural light.

Better yet: today’s smart lighting and control systems can even allow for more personalization, putting control of the patient’s lighting (and comfort) in their own hands.

Minimize wasted time to maximize time spent with patients.

According to a Nursing Times survey, one-third of nurses said they spent at least one hour per shift searching for equipment—the equivalent of 40 hours per month! Every minute spent searching for pumps, drip stands, or mattresses is time that could be spent by patients’ sides. And nurse attentiveness is another major factor in overall patient satisfaction.

Fortunately, the days of aimlessly searching are over. Thanks to the Internet of Things and real-time locating systems (RTLS) technology, critical equipment can be located instantly.

Did you know that real-time location systems, which use GPS-like technology to track the exact locations of tagged assets inside a building, can be implemented as part of a smart lighting strategy? Leading-edge platforms like WaveLinx Connected Lighting System and Trellix Smart Spaces IoT Platform come equipped with the sensors, communication technologies, and apps needed to enable RTLS (and countless other facility improvements). Plus, there is no other platform better positioned to collect facility data than a building’s lighting system.

Collect better data for better experiences and outcomes.

Patient satisfaction and cost mitigation might seem like competing goals. But they don’t have to be. With the right data and technology, you can make improvements that optimize productivity and workflows, automate time-consuming tasks, and improve the workplace environment for staff—all of which have a positive cascading effect on patient experience.

Imagine being able to gather rich data about traffic patterns in the ER to predict peak times and minimize waits. Or track people and patients’ movements throughout your facility to bolster security. IoT technology and smart integrations can even streamline contact tracing, hand hygiene compliance and infection control.

Human-centric healthcare experiences start with understanding the people in your building—detailed data around how they work, move, and interact. And better data starts with connected lighting.