Friday, August 14, 2015

Medical Practice Staff and Patients

handling patience
There was a book published several years ago by Jan Carlson of Scandinavia Airlines entitled “Moment of Truth”. Basically his point is that every time a customer comes in contact with a business a moment of truth is formed. These moments of truth create an impression which leads to thoughts about whether or not they should continue to seek products or services. Negative impressions will lead to the customer seeking other alternatives.

If we realistically look at the patient visit to the medical practice most “moments of truth” have to do with staff and the environment and NOT the provider. This is not to say that the provider portion of the visit is not important, it is the reason to be there, but it is to say that the staff needs to always be at their best.

So think about a few scenarios and how you respond:
  • Patient yells – do you yell back or allow the patient to “vent”, listen and once the complaint is out, respond in a cool manner. Utilize the reflective/deflective listening approach which means you repeat what the patient said and attempt to reach common ground and a resolution of the issue. 
  • Patient cries – they have just gotten bad news, time to empathize and recognize their need. 
  • Use common language – it is noted that patients don’t understand medical terminology, make sure your discussion is in common language. 
  • Pay attention – listen to what they have to say 
  • Patient is late – offer them alternatives such as rescheduling or waiting to be worked in. We have done a good job of training patients, they expect us to be late so they can be late as well 
  • We are so busy – instead of stating to obvious about a stressful day, don’t and try to calm down, relax and treat the patient with care and respect. Don’t let them know you’re too busy to see them – they’ll become stressed! 
  • Treat them like you want to be treated – the golden rule 
Then make sure the reception area is clean, maintained at a comfortable temperature, includes entertainment such as wi-fi, TV, recent and relevant periodicals.

Patient satisfaction is one of the key metrics in Medicare and payer programs and plans, it is essential that we all do our part.