6 Ways to Improve Patient Care

6 Ways to Improve Patient Care

Providing high-quality patient care should be the top priority for any healthcare organization. Patients expect and deserve to be treated with compassion and respect by knowledgeable providers using the latest standards of care.

However, the complex healthcare system today faces many pressures and challenges that can negatively impact the patient experience. Healthcare leaders must be proactive in developing strategies and initiatives to continuously improve patient care.

This article will examine six key ways that healthcare organizations can enhance patient care:

  1. Invest in Ongoing Training and Education:

Healthcare is an ever-changing field with new research, technologies, treatments, and regulations emerging constantly. All staff at all levels must stay current through continuing education and skills training. Outdated knowledge and practices can severely compromise patient care quality and safety.

For physicians, nurses, therapists, technologists, and other clinical roles, participation in continuing education should focus on their particular specialty and emerging topics. Organizations can offer internal grand rounds, seminars, lunch-and-learns, and training days as cost-effective ways to keep staff skills sharp. Supporting conference travel and external workshops is also beneficial. Leadership development programs groom the next generation of healthcare managers and executives.

Healthcare professionals can also enhance their knowledge and skills through degrees such as online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration programs while continuing to work. These flexible programs allow working healthcare professionals to earn an advanced degree and take on leadership roles.

For non-clinical staff, education may involve customer service training, diversity and cultural competence, new technologies, patient experience skills, process improvement methods, stress management, and more. Organizations should assess training needs and provide targeted programming. An educated, skilled workforce leads to engaged employees and higher retention.

  1. Foster a Culture of Patient-Centered Care:

Every individual patient brings a unique background, values, preferences, and needs. Patient-centered care involves understanding the whole person behind the symptoms and engaging them as an active participant in their care.

Organizations should train clinical and non-clinical staff on topics such as diversity, communication skills, patient rights, shared decision-making, motivational interviewing, trauma-informed care, and cultural competency. Model patient-centric values in policies, procedures, facility design, educational materials, and more. Create inclusive environments where patients feel respected.

Ensure patients have access to medical interpreters or assistive technologies as needed. Make sure patients have easy access to their health records, test results, and educational materials. By focusing care on the person rather than just the disease, hospitals can provide holistic care and build trust, which leads to better health outcomes.

  1. Leverage Health Information Technology:

Optimizing the use of technology in healthcare is vital for improving patient experience, care quality, outcomes, and safety. Electronic health records centralize patient data from across sites of care and facilitate secure, real-time information sharing between providers. Telehealth and digital care allow patients to conveniently access consultations, monitoring, education, and other services remotely.

Patient portals and mobile apps engage people in managing their health and wellness. Health IT integrates real-time data analytics to identify care gaps, model clinical scenarios, automate workflow, assist decision-making, and track patient populations.

While technology itself does not directly improve care, it provides tools that enable providers to work smarter. Training staff on the effective application of EHR systems, dashboards, algorithms, devices, and other information systems ensures technologies enhance rather than impede patient care.

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  1. Facilitate Care Coordination and Transitions:

Patients often receive fragmented care from various professionals across multiple settings. Lack of coordination leads to duplicated services, medical errors, readmissions, and poor outcomes. Creating a seamless continuum of care requires connecting providers across departments, service lines, and sites of care while educating patients.

Case managers, social workers, pharmacists, and discharge planners develop comprehensive plans for complex cases and at-risk patients transitioning between settings. Multidisciplinary teams with physicians, nurses, rehab staff, etc., meet regularly to review cases, confer with specialists, and discuss patient needs.

Implementing care coordination models, care plans, medication management, and health information exchange systems enhances clinical integration. Patients benefit when all members of the care team work closely together.

  1. Foster Longitudinal Physician-Patient Relationships:

Positive personal relationships between patients and their healthcare providers developed over months and years build trust and rapport, leading to greater engagement, compliance, and satisfaction. Organizations should promote longitudinal relationships versus fragmented episodic care.

Organizations can support longitudinal relationships by training clinicians on developing rapport, scheduling patients intelligently, and using EHR cues to learn about the patient over successive visits.

Implement policies such as continuity of care where patients see the same primary care provider and specialists over multiple visits and years to facilitate familiarity. Schedule templates should allow ample time for meaningful face-to-face doctor-patient interaction with empathetic two-way communication versus rushed visits.

Satisfied patients are more likely to openly share concerns, fully disclose medical history, ask questions, adhere to treatment plans, retain health information, and participate actively in their care when they have an established relationship with their physician. In turn, physicians gain deeper insights into the patient’s health patterns, preferences, values, family dynamics, and psychosocial needs with longitudinal familiarity. 

  1. Gather Continuous Patient Feedback:

Understanding the patient’s perspective is essential for identifying what is working well and what needs improvement in a healthcare organization. There should be continuous efforts to gather feedback through multiple channels, including post-visit surveys, community focus groups, patient/family advisory councils, online reviews, social media monitoring, complaints data analysis, and more.

Feedback should be monitored in real-time through analytics to find emerging trouble spots, gaps, and problems negatively affecting patients. Feedback must be gathered from both satisfied and dissatisfied patients to understand the full spectrum of experiences. Surveys can utilize open-ended questions to gather qualitative feedback from patients in their own words versus just rankings. Talking directly to patients yields different insights compared to aggregated data.

When patients see their input directly leads to visible changes, they are more engaged. Patient feedback integrated into education, policies, operations, facility design, staff training, and technology implementations helps healthcare organizations gain actionable insights for continuously enhancing care and the overall patient experience. 


Delivering exceptional patient care requires both a systemic approach and an individual touch. Healthcare leaders must align organizational processes, culture, and staff to put patients at the center while also fostering caring one-on-one relationships. There is always room for improvement, but following these key strategies can help any healthcare organization enhance patient experiences and outcomes.