Improving the Ultrasound Patient Experience
Improving the ultrasound patient experience and patient satisfaction is more important than ever, especially with the increasing number of patients who want to be more personally involved in their healthcare decisions. As a Sonographer, you play a critical role in a patient’s overall medical experience and influence their perceptions of the ultrasound department at your facility.
While patient experience isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, understanding and delivering a good patient experience should be a core objective for your ultrasound department. Consider these tips for helping to improve a patient’s ultrasound experience:
Introducing yourself is an often overlooked step when improving the ultrasound patient experience. A warm, friendly greeting can make a big difference in patient relations and help the patient feel comfortable and at ease. When introducing yourself to a new patient, let the patient know you are the Sonographer and what exam you will be performing. Ask the patient if they have any questions about the exam, or if they need anything prior to starting the exam.
Sonographer Tip: Before starting the exam, you should always check the identifying markers to make sure you have the correct patient. You do not want to have to go back and repeat the exam because you performed the right exam on the wrong patient.
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Limit Facial Expressions
Your facial expressions, body posture, and degree of eye contact send out social signals to the patient that can be detrimental to your exam, especially if you see an abnormality. Patients will be keen to interpret your facial expressions during the procedure for possible results, either positively or negatively. While it may be difficult at times, do your best to limit your facial expressions during the exam.
Reassure the Patient
During an ultrasound exam, many patients may ask questions about the procedure. Try to answer their questions to the best of your ability without revealing any findings or causing confusion. If their questions get too in-depth, let the patient know that the radiologist or doctor will be able to answer their questions and discuss the exam results with them once they read the images.
Use Quality Ultrasound Gel
The ultrasound gel that you use can go a long way toward improving the ultrasound patient experience. Good, high-quality ultrasound gel, like EcoVue® Ultrasound Gel, is made with patient comfort in mind. It is water-soluble and leaves behind no sticky residue. It also helps make your job easier by maintaining its viscosity and providing superior auditory conduction. This helps to make the procedure quicker and provides more reliable images, both of which directly improve patient comfort.