How a receiptionist can ruin patient satisfaction

I continue to be amazed at how many medical practices do not keep tabs on their front desk personnel. Are they courteous to patients? Are they friendly? Do they go out of their way to help? We all know it's the little things that can make or break a person's perception of a medical office.

Here is another real life example, this one involving my own family. My wife Suan was sick all Easter weekend with flu-like symptoms. She continued to feel bad Monday morning so I called one of my family practice clients near our house to see if she could be worked in. Sure, send her on over was his reply.

Suan shows up at his office and immediately the receptionist seems "put out" that a patient would just "show up" without an appointment. My husband called the doctor and he said to come on over was Suan's reply but that didn't seem to make the situation better. The receptionist then says the doctor can't see her because his name is not listed as her primary care physician on her insurance card. I know said Suan, I'll pay for the appointment myself. To Suan's disbelief, the receiptionist continued to make things difficult, even going to the doctor to see if it was okay to work her in. Finally, She was able to see the doctor.

As you read this story, can you believe it? Of course you can because this type of behavior happens much more than most people realize. It's just further proof how "un-managed" front desk people really are and how much they are left unaccountable. This is why patient satisfaction surveys are so important. A medical office should survey its patients at least once a year. Progressive practices give each patient a survey when they check out of the office so the office can get immediate feedback on an ongoing basis.

Dear doctor and administrator/office manager: GET WITH THE %$^# PROGRAM AND MANAGE YOUR FRONT DESK PEOPLE before they totally turn off your patient base!!

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