Patient experience is complex to define and measure, but delivering a positive one has become increasingly important as healthcare becomes a more consumer-driven industry. Methods for tracking and rewarding quality healthcare experiences have not only become more sophisticated and widespread in recent years—they’ve become institutionalized.
In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released results from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey for the first time. Before HCAHPS, there had been no national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives on hospital care.
While not a perfect predictor of clinical outcomes, the HCAHPS scores have become a meaningful benchmark for analyzing patient satisfaction, empowering both healthcare institutions and consumers to improve care environments.
One of the subtler factors impacting these scores—healthcare design in medical furniture—may be surprising to providers who are focused on bigger-picture care objectives. Read on for often-overlooked details in healthcare seating that can make measurable differences in patient experience.
Seating Quality Affects Long Waits
Sick people spend a lot of time waiting in healthcare facilities—usually sitting down.
Some of this time is spent in waiting rooms. Research shows that wait times have profound effects on patient satisfaction, with increased wait times influencing ”perceptions of information, instructions, and the overall treatment provided by physicians and other caregivers.”
The wait time can be much longer for patients receiving treatment in oncology and infusion clinics, where therapy may last hours.
In these instances of prolonged or repeated sitting, patient-centered design in healthcare furniture becomes even more critical. This encompasses not only chair features like flexible weight capacity for larger patients and sturdy foot extensions for added comfort but also relaxing seating environments and aesthetically pleasing furniture.
Small Comforts Leave Big Impressions
“[M]edical accessories often touch the patients’ bodies or are in close proximity during their entire stay. With that level of intimacy, patients pay close attention to details,” reports the Healthcare Purchasing News (HPN) magazine. “They recognize when a supply is causing pain, discomfort or noise, but even smell and other more nuanced details can often have an impact.”
When it comes to medical seating, the little things count.
Comfort features such as USB charging ports for easy access to entertainment, heated seating to offset cold sensitivity brought on by chemotherapy, and massage options to relieve muscle tension can make real differences in how patients experience their visits.
Champion’s Alō Designed for Patient Satisfaction
The Alō series is Champion’s premium choice for treatment seating in oncology and infusion. Meaning “to nourish,” Alō was thoughtfully designed to provide the highest quality of care and comfort to patients in a variety of treatment settings and durations.
In addition to options such as customizable seat-back designs, vanity panels, a “tuxedo” configuration, USB ports, heat and massage, and powered recline, the Alō recliner is available in two working heights (treatment and recovery), each with innovative accessories that serve both patients and providers. These include multipronged IV brackets to save floor space and eliminate separate IV equipment when moving the patient, and tablet arms and TV/monitor mounts for easy and more comfortable technology use.
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