Need a booster shot for your patient/customer service attitude? I was reading the article linked below on tips for working in a doctor’s office as I am always looking for good information to share. What kind of tips can we use to as we provide service to those who come to our offices each day? Now do not think this information is just for medical practices, all places of business that serve customers can benefit from this information. This article touches on five areas that are important in keeping our offices running smoothly and efficiently in order to care for our patients needs. Communication between staff sounds easy, but in reality developing good communication between co-workers is a challenge and an ongoing one. Making sure our offices are prepared for the patients who are coming to be helped is very important. The more organized our office is and prepared for each patient visit the better the flow in the office can be and everyone appreciates that. Training of staff in all office protocols and procedures is essential in order for them to be able to communicate best to patients when they are there. Along with speaking communication skills, staff must develop their listening skills also. Patients want to be listened to more than anything. If a patient does not feel that they are being heard, they will find another physician and office to go to.
The fifth item that this article addresses is “understand the patient” you may think….of course I need to understand the patient, but this is not a simple task, it takes skill. Most of the time our encounters with patients will be brief, so we need to really listen and then respond to what the patient is saying. Patience is required as you may have to ask a few questions in order to find out where the patient is coming from and what needs they really want addressed. The key important factor that the author states is this; “patients often feel abused by the health care system and helpless to understand it. Sometimes they see the physician’s office as an extension of their despised insurance system.” This is so true, but I never really heard it put quite this way. Patients will get angry at us (the office staff and physician) when their insurance company denies something or pays less than what the patient feels they should. By understanding this fact we can find better ways to communicate to our patients that we the, physician’s office, is a separate entity from their insurance company. They have a patient insurance contract with them to provide financial assistance with medical bills. If we have a contract to accept an insurance then we follow the rules set by that contract, which their insurance company has written. We are there to provide care for the patient, we are not there as a representative of their insurance company. This too is easier said than done, but I think my office is going to get a booster shot this season so we can stay in tip-top shape for the challenges of providing better patient service and helping our patients understand the insurance game.