If you work in health care or manage a medical practice, you are aware of all the radical changes in technology, medicine, social values, and interpersonal relations over the past few years and you probably do not expect the next several years to be less stressful and less uncertain. To ensure your practice and your provider’s success, you may need to adjust how your team interacts with patients – starting with the first area of patient interaction.
Patients who seek care for their health problems are looking for some measure of kindness when they approach the window of your office’s receptionist. Many are already apprehensive about their clinical condition and adding to that problem is their concern about the financial impact of their visit on the family’s budget. The medical group’s unwillingness to rethink how it greets patients as they approach the receptionist sets the stage for the patient to feel mishandled or underappreciated.
This initial patient interaction stage must be evaluated and recognized as an area of improvement. If not handled properly, it will significantly affect how a medical practice or provider is graded as a group in the field of patient experience and managing patient expectations. Every medical office needs to recognize that people hold on to negative experiences and are not likely to change their mind after that negative experience. The best way to avoid negative bias is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Listed below are the five additional patient experience mistakes that can cost your group, if they are not recognized as being priorities for both your staff and your patients.
Mistake #1 - Educated patients are taking control of their health care.
When health care is treated like any other paid service, an unhappy patient will move along to a new facility or doctor if they have a bad interaction – whether it is with the doctor or the support staff. Educating, training, or adjusting staff to make changes needed is required to ensure that your staff understands the value of patient appreciation and providing the patient with a positive experience.
Mistake #2 - Patients are customers, and just like customers, patients have options.
It should be recognized that patients are customers who are concerned about their future and do not want to be in a medical practice requesting help. They feel vulnerable and out of their routine comfort zone. Reminding your staff that a patient is a customer who has multiple health care choices, but chose to come to your practice, will help your staff understand the value of providing your patient with a positive experience.
Mistake #3 – Dr. Google is becoming the patient’s best friend.
Research indicates that many patients arrive at the doctor’s office already with some information on their condition. Various websites already have provided the patient with free access to learn about their health condition. Popular medical sites such as WebMD.com give the patient the preliminary education they are looking for, so they are already armed with medical information even before they see the doctor or their support staff.