Running a healthcare facility, be it a hospital or small to medium sized practice; require resources and lot of effort. Sometimes the most crucial factor, the patient experience is overlooked in the medical and administrative tasks. However, physicians have to run the business side of their medical practice as well, which means maximizing profits and controlling costs.
In any business, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. Similarly, Patient Satisfaction is important for the success of a medical practice – every point of interaction between the patient and practice’s staff is crucial, as it will determine the patient experience and satisfaction. A patient satisfied with the service of medical and administrative staff of practice will return and spread good word about it. Therefore, it is necessary to make your patients happy so that they return to your practice for quality medical care.
Interaction with the front desk staff
This is the first point of patient interaction with the practice that will create an impact on their experience during other steps of their visit. The front desk staff should be trained in operating the Electronic Health Records (EHR) system to avoid errors that will require a call back to the patient to get accurate details. This carelessness will irritate the patients, making them reconsider their choice of physician.
Another point of interaction is at the check-out time. At the time of checkout front desk staff should clearly explain the patient’s, the amount they need to pay for the services. This amount can be an estimate based on deductibles received from patient’s with similar diagnosis and treatment.
Experience in the exam room
When patients enter the exam room, they place their trust in the physician to help them with their medical issue. They expect the physician to listen to them attentively, examine and diagnose with undivided concentration and sincerity. The uninterested tone of the physician and rush to end the consultation – so that the physician could squeeze in more patients – will not make leave a good impression on the minds of the patients.
Sometimes patients can be difficult to treat. If you dismiss the complaints of your patient by calling them irrational, then you are just losing your customers. Instead, listen to them carefully and try to explain them in a polite and sympathetic manner.
Physicians are the face of their practice. The decision to return to the practice in future rests heavily on the shoulders of the patients. If patients are not satisfied in the exam room, then there is likelihood that they will not ask for another appointment.
Leaving the patient unattended
The patient sits in the hallway for hours, waiting for his/her turn to see the physician, only to realize that the administrative staff has forgotten about them. That’s the worst way to deal with a customer. The patient has been quietly suffering in pain, while there is no one to attend to him/her. This creates a negative perception of the practice. The front desk staff and nurses can play a role to deal with the patient while physician is busy with other patient.
The front desk staff using the Electronic Health Records (EHR) should carefully schedule appointments, such that they don’t overlap with each other and patients don’t have to wait for hours. In case, patients are late for their appointment, then they can be asked to wait. Meanwhile, nurses can attend to the patient to help them with pain.
Like any business, it is imperative for physicians to retain their patients to generate revenue for their practices. Therefore, physicians should provide their customers – patients – with finest service.