When many people think of taking a child to the doctors, even if it is for a routine check-up, the words “fast” and “efficient” are probably not in their top-ten list of adjectives to describe the experience. Although there is an unimaginably long list of variables to consider when keeping a pediatric patient (especially younger ones) calm during the visit, there are some fairly manageable techniques and changes you can consider implementing into your routine that may help smooth out the experience.
Patient Management and Flow
Efficiency starts at the door. Since children have a shorter attention span, spending too much time in one area can sometimes cause them to become more agitated, anxious or even upset. Consider the patient flow at your facility. Are there certain times when there are spikes in unscheduled visits? Are there certain days of the week that seem to be flooded with phone calls and emergencies? Properly utilizing a medical practice management software may be able to help. TechonologyAdvice.Com does a great job of breaking down many potential bottlenecks and explaining how to gain efficiencies and benefits by using the software.
Utilization of Technology
Technology has evolved heavily and fast in recent history which has uncovered many new solutions for healthcare such as keeping records digitally, upgrading staff with mobile tablets or even digital equipment for vitals and testing. These tools can be helpful in keeping your team working with the latest and greatest in “cutting edge” technology. However, the caveat to technology implementation is ensuring staff is properly trained, experienced and comfortable operating it. These tech tools are only beneficial if staff knows how to use them - if not used properly, these time-saving devices can actually cause speed bumps, double work for already busy staff and can potentially cut down on patient satisfaction if the staff’s focus is the software, not the patient.
Keeping Patients Engaged
Between keeping up with technology changes and the daily tasks that need to be performed, sometimes staff may become preoccupied with the procedures of their job. Keeping patients involved with processes, such as listening to their heart or looking in their ears, by explaining what will be done using medical play may help reduce the anxiety surrounding an examination or procedure.
Handling the Scary Stuff – Like Needles
Whether it be trypanophobia, needle phobia or general fear, it is not uncommon for young patients to be anxious when it comes to needle procedures. Although the origins of a patients’ worry may not specifically be known, common reactions seen in those who are needle phobic are: increased heart rate, fainting, panic attacks and physical attempts to avoid the medical professional. When caring for a patient who shows signs of anxiety around needles, it may be wise to utilize tactics to help reduce their fears. Using readily available options such as physical distraction methods, cold sprays to help reduce pain associated with the needle prick or even a combination of methods may help to change attention from the procedure to something less scary –making the procedure faster, and keeping the visit efficient.