Patient Experience: Is Your Dog Being Treated Better Than You Are?

I stumbled upon a comical YouTube video today about a man and his dog that were taking a run through the woods and over the course of the run they were both injured.  The video continues with a visit to vet and a visit to the doctor and believe it or not, the dog has a much more positive experience!  The dog is excitedly greeted by the receptionist who already knows him by name; he waits for a few minutes, receives compassionate care, and gets lots of affection from his veterinarian’s team.

Meanwhile, his human owner experiences very unfriendly receptionist, who mistake him for another patient as she cuts off his comments by starting a phone conversation. He waits in an unpleasant waiting room and is finally taken to the exam room where he falls asleep because he has been waiting so long to see the doctor.  The doctor takes 30 seconds to look at him and immediately orders an X-ray without any explanation.   This leaves him wandering through the facility looking for radiology and no one is willing to help him out.

Why is it that the human patient doesn’t have the same positive, caring experience?  Frankly, your staff may say that it’s easier to be friendly and loving to a dog and human patients can talk back and may be difficult. However, when working with the public, especially in the healthcare setting, it’s important to remember that a professional and courteous attitude is necessary with every patient, at every encounter.  It takes minimal effort and it doesn’t cost your practice anything to remember to treat the patient as a person, not a number in the EMR; greet them quickly upon their entrance to the waiting room with a smile and recognize them by name.  Keep your patients updated on wait times and don’t leave them in the exam room oblivious to what is going on outside the room doors.  It’s also easy to get busy during the day and forget to listen to your patient and fail to guide them to their next procedural step or take an extra moment to ask “are there any questions I can answer for you today?” at the end of each encounter.   All of the little details create positive patient experiences and leave your patients WOWed.

You can find this YouTube video here!

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