Wellness provider, your front desk staff may be one of your most important hires. Why?
Let’s start with a basic question. What is your business mission statement? If you’re reading this article and your bottom line is your biggest WHY for your business, read no farther.
It’s okay with me. This article is not for you. However, if happy, healthier clients are your focus (along with that necessary bottom line), then you’re in tune with patient-centered care.
Patient-centered care is making a slow, but certain come-back.
According to this article in Catalyst (https://catalyst.nejm.org), how you make your clients feel is an important part of quality care.
“Patients are partners with their health care providers, and providers treat patients not only from a clinical perspective, but also from an emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and financial perspective.” Catalyst
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also lists patient-centered care as one of six markers of quality health care. In fact, all six goals could be summed up by saying, “Do your best for each client. ”
- Safe care
- Effective care
- Patient centered
Patient-centered care starts when your client picks up the phone to call your office.
How many of us actually look forward to picking up the phone and calling a doctor, dentist, or other wellness provider? Ladies, how about getting the man in your life to schedule his own appointments? Is it like pulling teeth? Healthcare is a very emotional and personal experience for most clients.
While you as the wellness provider bear most of the responsibility for safe and effective care, your office staff will make or break patient-centered care with a tough-as-nails or a sour lemon approach.
Your “gatekeepers” should embody all that is wonderful about your wellness practice.
Face it — most of us hate calling certain businesses. Why?
- We feel like a number when the voice on the other end is obviously rushing or bored to tears to be talking to us. The message we hear: we are NOT welcome. Instead, we want to hear a smile in the voice of the staff member who answers our call. Yes, you can smile when you talk.
- You don’t value our time. You immediately put us on hold when we call. We wait for a long time. No one loves this!
- Scheduling an appointment that works with our schedule is a chore! (Either your office needs to hire more help, or refer folks to another wellness provider.)
Here’s a secret tip for finding out if your office staff is doing well in the patient-centered care department.
If you’re as healthy as a horse, you can’t understand your clients. You need to hire a secret “quality control” agent to discover how it feels for your new potential to phone or walk in the front door of your practice.
Don’t hire your best friend. Don’t even hire an acquaintance. Hire someone who has a sick loved one and experiences doctor’s offices ALL the time. Have them call your office at different times with “new patient” questions. Pick the busiest times. Here are a few suggestions — keeping it simple is great!
- What insurance do you accept?
- When is your next available appointment?
SURVEY QUESTIONS SHOULD INCLUDE:
- Was the voice on the phone warm and friendly?
- IF a walk-in, were you greeted promptly with a smile and courteous greeting?
- Were you put on hold? For how long?
- Were your questions answered in a prompt and friendly way (no snotty attitude)?