(e)Merging Practice Growth
Are Your Physicians Hurting the Patient
Everyone within a healthcare organization
contributes to the patient experience. The focus is often placed solely
on those spending the most time with patients: front desk attendants and nurses
or assistants. However, support staff is not always the only employees in
need of brushing up on their customer service skills. In a recent article
by the "Wall Street Journal", reference is made to a study conducted by
"Health Affairs", in which it is found that few patients actually feel
comfortable speaking with their physicians. Words such as,
"authoritarian", "uninterested", and "too busy" were used by those
surveyed to describe feelings towards their physician.
With the ultimate goal of an appointment
being full enlightenment about a current medical condition, it is alarming to
find patients are leaving offices without this conclusion. While doctors
exist to offer medical advice, this study found many patients are unwilling to
insert their opinions into conversations about diagnosis or treatment.
One complaint commonly overheard from physicians is that patients' health is
not improving because they are not accurately adhering to the advice
given. Perhaps the unwillingness of patients to engage in discussion or
offer interjection to the conversation is the reason for this
While focusing on improving the customer
service of our clients, we often introduce DISC assessment workshops based on
how to best implement changes based upon findings. This assessment is a
brief survey which ultimately discovers one of four communication styles.
In life, and work, each of these personalities reacts differently to the
situations they are placed in. We always suggest to our clients not only
the employees, but also the physicians use these assessments. However,
the majority of the time we find disinterest and unwillingness to participate
from the leaders of these organizations.
Attitude and an eagerness to improve
communication with others is contagious and employees follow the examples set
by their managers and superiors. Ultimately, the conclusions found in
this survey show there is an abundance of physicians exuding disinterest in
communication and the inability to listen. If customers and patients are
experiencing these mannerisms, employees and staff are likely to as well.
The ultimate take away lies within not only assessing the customer service put
forth from employees, but analyzing the experience patients and employees are
having with the physicians. While satisfaction stems from the experience
as a whole, a practice cannot retain and grow their patient base upon feelings
of apprehension. Furthermore, organizations cannot expect to maintain
current staff if an open line of communication does not exist.
The highlight for the month of May was our time spent with the
various MGMA chapters across the nation; having the opportunity to meet with
these groups everywhere from Oregon to Kentucky was truly a pleasure.
Each state chapter brought a new and exciting perspective on the healthcare
Throughout the month, we were able to meet and listen to
presentations from numerous innovative and enlightening individuals.
Healthcare is always in a state of improvement and meeting with those that are
part of the progress is an inspiration!
Put it into
Patients that have great relationships with their physicians are more
likely to have higher levels of patient satisfaction; here are five tips from
the American Academy of Family Physicians for improving relationships with
Establish a sense of trust- understand each patient's values, goals
Uncover patients' actual needs- take the time to probe a bit deeper
and establish a relationship with the patient.
Think dialogue, not monologue- find out not only what a patient's
problems are, but how they effect daily life and create limitations.
Don't force "the close"- do more than tell the patient a
plan, make sure the proposed solution will fit into their life and work for
Always follow up- physician and staff support is appreciated and the
extra care will help others reach and maintain their health goals.
How does your
Practice Measure Up?
With our exhaustive 130 point mystery shopping review,
you'll know the answer. Give us a call or email Jamie today to
discuss how our mystery shopping services can ensure practice growth in