Here are some steps you can take to keep your patients happy and make life at the office that much better.

Start by treating patients like an important guest. This means everyone in the practice should say hello and smile when they greet a patient. Yep, you got it! Each staffer should sels inntroduce to each new patient and end the visit by asking “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” By the way get rid of that dreaded sign-in sheet – it’s offensive!

Make your waiting room a reception room. It should be attractive and comfortable, like a room in your home. Good lighting, good reading material and up-to-date decor are essential.

Honor the schedule. Keep the patient wait times short by starting on time and staying on time. If you are having difficulty doing so read Judy Capko’s new book “Take Back Time – Bringing time management to medicine” Go to www.capko.com.

Next, communicate better! Keep good eye contact and watch for signals that tell you how the patient is feeling or responding to you. Use the patients’ name frequently throughout the encounter and you will stay connected.

E-mail. Your patients are doing it and so should you. E-mail to improve timeliness and efficiency when communicating with patients. The nurse, biller and scheduler are likely to manage most of the e-communication so it won’t be eroding your time but is sure improve the communication link.

Finally, amp up your website. Have a patient portal so patients can get information about you, the practice and their own healthcare. Give them access to past appointment history, routine lab results, their prescription patterns and other useful information that communicates without tying up telephone lines.

Contact Judy Capko, one of America’s best known practice management consultants: www.capko.com

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