In the time it takes you to read this blog, many of your patients will be asked a question about what doctor they use….why they like or dislike. Do you know what they are saying? If you don’t then you are not listening.
Expectations are high, patients are smarter, the internet can answer any question they have, and your practice is either effectively managing the healthcare of your patients or they are finding another provider to do so.
There are 5 things your practice should be focused on:
- It’s about the patient – have you ever walked into a doctor’s office and they are absorbed in private conversation…..they are sharing a private joke…they are celebrating a staff members birthday or they are just sitting there oblivious? From the moment the patient calls for an appointment (remember they are calling because they need help) until they get their final bill your focus should be them. If it isn’t, nothing else you do will matter.
- Create an environment that welcomes – Patients are not visiting your practice because they have nothing else to do. They have carved time out of their busy schedules because they need your expertise. Welcome them with the décor, the lighting, the efficiency of staff, the minimal wait time, and that free water or cup of coffee. Little things mean a lot.
- Be Prepared – part of the staffs schedule today should be focused on who is coming tomorrow. What their insurance requirements are, did they have the lab work done, do you have the results, did they receive bad news the last visit and need some extra care, do they have special needs that you are aware of and can help with, is the flow of patients through the office such that they can get in and out with minimal hassle, do they understand what your expectations are of them?
- Use your web site to inform and instruct – more and more patients spend time on the internet. They look up their symptoms, their drugs, and their diagnosis. Provide answers they are looking for on your web site. Give them the answers you need them to hear on your web site. Give them clear instructions (written) on how to access web site and patient portal. Give them a sense that you are concerned about them, their needs, their questions, their concerns. You can only do that by focusing on them.
- Use the EHR efficiently – everyone knows that electronic medical records are the future. Let them see you using it, speak positively about the benefits, print out for them a visit summary. They are not interested in excuses or blaming; they simply want to know you are embracing the EHR and it’s to their advantage. They will understand a learning curve; after all they had one too. For older patients, ask them about their use of computer, you will be amazed at how many have embraced the technology.
Healthcare delivery is complex, and there are many many components to that delivery. But if you will focus on these really simple principles, you will find that you have the time and energy to focus on the really hard stuff.