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Four ways to provide better paediatric care

A recent report has revealed fighting chronic disease starts with better paediatric care, so how can specialists improve paediatric patient experience to optimise better health outcomes?

A recent report published in the Harvard Business Review, has revealed starting to prevent adult chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart failure in adulthood is too late, as many adult health care outcomes are shaped in childhood.

But running a private practice is already doubly hard when you’re a paediatrician. From moody, crying, anxious children to their equally nervous adult counterparts, not only do you have to keep your paediatric patients happy, but you also have to make sure parents are satisfied as well. Here are a few simple and easy-to-implement tactics you can use to support both your patients and their families.

1. Distract and deflect

Children are easily distracted, and distraction is a great technique that can decrease patient anxiety. Try waving a toy in front of a child, asking a question about a favorite song or film can momentarily distract a child.

For longer procedures, you can even give children a more engaging exercise, such as colouring in or solving a puzzle. This technique not only keeps kids engaged and busy for a considerable amount of time, but it also takes their minds off everything that’s going on around them.

2. Enhance waiting room experience

Continuity of care is essential in supporting better paediatric outcomes, so ensure patients and their parents return to your practice by making their experiences positive, engaging and fuss-free from the moment they step through your door.

First impressions count, so a friendly greeting from your staff at reception sets the tone for the visit. Ensure all specialists, nurses, support staff and team members understand that patient satisfaction is a priority for your practice. You can even consider sending them to customer service training to instill a culture of patient engagement and satisfaction within your practice.

And the waiting room itself is an important space – from layout, lighting, to design and atmosphere, it’s crucial to create a comfortable and safe environment for both children and their adult carers. Try to leverage natural light as best as possible or LED lighting that best mimics natural light, and avoid harsh, fluorescent lighting.

Meanwhile keep the space relatively clutter-free with minimal chairs, to give the impression that your patient won’t be waiting behind crowds of people. A simple play area for small children can make a world of difference, including mats, a small table and chairs, books and age-appropriate, safe toys. You could even provide complimentary wifi to help both adults and children enjoy their time in the waiting area.

3. Avoid lengthy waiting times

 Avoid lengthy waiting times by managing appointments effectively with the right booking system. Online specialist appointment solutions like Bluechip not only enable patients to easily book and update appointments, but also enable specialists and support staff to see all upcoming bookings at a glance from one centralised system, helping manage a busy workflow of a specialist practice.

Make it quick, simple and easy for parents to interact and engage with your practice by leveraging the latest technology. Try creating a simple and easy to use patient portal on your website, so parents can easily access immunisation and health records, obtain test results, make online appointments and submit queries.

4. Educate and inform

Empower better patient care by offering your patient’s carer with the best resources to educate, inform and empower them through their healthcare experience. Provide digital resources and printed copies of factsheets, and ensure content is up to date and easily accessible. Having answers to common ‘FAQs’ on your website can also help guide your patients outside appointment times, freeing up the booking slot for you to answer the more complex questions that your patients may ask.

Patient Engagement Survey 2018

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