Due to increasing scrutiny around patient satisfaction and what it may mean for reimbursement, patient volume, and quality standards, it’s no surprise that patient experience is at the forefront of breast centers’ priorities. We spoke with many of our top breast health professionals about the top priorities for their facilities. As expected, improving patient experience topped the list, followed by complying with regulatory requirements, increasing patient volume, and reducing costs. Improving patient experience is certainly not limited to the breast health community however the topic is always a passionate one.
Ensuring patients comply with annual exam recommendations is critical to getting ahead of risky breast abnormalities. However, no matter how often it’s addressed, it can be difficult to get patients to follow through with recommendations. Patients may show a wide range of emotions when visiting a breast center, and these emotions can be driven by the perception of pain associated with their exam, dread of a positive diagnosis, and concern over what to expect. Breast centers across the nation have shared with us some of their approaches for improving the patient experience and perception at their facility, to ensure patients adhere to follow-ups and annual exams.
Make the Experience More Comfortable with Comfort Cushion™
Mammography technicians do everything they can to capture accurate imaging while also making patients feel comfortable during the procedure. PDC’s Comfort Cushion™ helps technicians reduce patient discomfort by providing a soft layer over the hard surface of the image receptor. The Comfort Cushion™ is even gentle on sensitive skin, providing comfort for all patients. It also assists technicians with better breast positioning, enabling the capture of more accurate imaging. This improves the overall patient experience, which helps encourage patients to return for their annual exams.
Positive Patient-Staff Communication Influences Patient Perception
Improving and maintaining patient communication is an ongoing practice at most breast centers. Past studies have proven that positive and effective radiologist-patient interaction and education can impact the patient’s perception of mammography. Since the technologist is often the face of mammograms, centers are continuously stressing the importance of both informative and personal communication with patients to help build a trusting and safe environment. This practice can aid in more knowledgeable and confident patients who are more likely to listen to staff recommendations to return for annual screenings, as well as refer family and friends to their facility.
A Calm Office Environment Leads to a Calmer Patient
Many breast centers are elevating the patient experience by adopting the ambiance you find at a day spa. These “spa-like” environments are one of the most common responses as to how a center is improving patient experience. From soft robes and lighting, to mellow voices and music, maintaining a calm and relaxing environment can help reduce patients’ anxieties.
Consider giving patients a gel cold pack to use before and after a biopsy or minor procedure to reduce discomfort. The PDC Spee-D-Cool Gel packs have soft, rounded edges that conform naturally to a woman’s anatomy to provide 30 minutes of soothing cold therapy. They can even be customized to include branding.
Another way to increase patient comfort is by using PDC Fresh Wipes before and after exams. FreshWipes™ are used prior to the exam to clean and reduce the incidence of artifacts on images. ReFresh Deoderant Wipes™ are used after the exam to leave patients feeling clean, comfortable, and refreshed.
3D Mammography Equipment Improves Patient Experience
Approval and implementation of new equipment and systems is oftentimes directly linked to a positive patient experience. Up-to-date equipment, such as 3D Mammography Equipment, can help reduce unnecessary callbacks. The adoption of 3D mammography has been rapidly increasing due to research showing it leads to a lower false positive rate and higher detection rate. Additionally, the FDA approval of Hologic’s Genius™ 3D Mammography exam that proves superior for women with dense breasts has increased the equipment’s adoption rate.
Whether your facility has implemented these popular methods, or has created or adopted other approaches and processes, PDC would love to hear about what’s going on in your center. Give us a call at 800.435.4242 or contact us online and share what you’re working on. We may be able to help and your facility could be featured in an upcoming article.