Physicians only need to peek at their ratings on sites like Yelp, Healthgrades and Vitals to realize the unfair truth: patients lump every aspect of their interactions with your practice into their view of your “care.” Worse, at times it seems like their reviews give more weight to things like staff courtesy and billing hassles than to their clinical outcomes!
The good news is, however, is that this also means that making people feel cared for is a team effort at your practice — and that means that the burden doesn’t fall entirely on the physicians’ shoulders. The key, though, is to make sure the importance of patient service is understood by everyone on the team, and that everyone takes responsibility for it. Some steps in the right direction:
- Educate your staff about the importance of patient service, and reward them for their good work. Let them know that your practice’s reputation depends on their contributions — and that you value it! Invest in training if improvement is needed.
- Survey your patients. Learning what’s on their minds — before they vent on a social media site or medical directory — will allow you to address issues before they become problems. And, some patients will perceive your service to be better simply because you took the time to ask their opinion.
- Strive for a personal touch. Medicine is becoming bigger and more impersonal — and that trend is only worsening with consolidation. But, this spells opportunities for small practices to stand out! Be sure your clinical routines allow for a bit of personal interactions with patients — even just stating the patient’s name at the start of the encounter conveys a touch of caring.
- Bring in outside help. If you’re not 100% sure of how patients view your service and care, an objective analysis can be very valuable. Contact us* if you’re ready for a comprehensive, cost-effective service review and action plan. When it comes to patient service problems, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
*our San Francisco office works on patient service projects — contact us via email at “info” at capko.com, or call (415) 652-0455.