By Editor, Concierge Medicine Today, LLC
Before you dismiss the idea of Patient Feedback boxes or some other form of feedback program in your medical office as a good idea … but who is going to manage those complaints, hear me out.
Patients are smarter than your staff give us credit for. Some staff are not going to like the idea of a Patient Feedback card or box in your practice like this because they know you that you are finally going to get an ear full about someone’s behavior. If that’s the case, then more than likely the first staff member on your team that raises an objection to this idea just might be the one that needs your attention and some training about office culture more the most.
Showing your Patients that you listen to them is second nature for Physicians.
However, when it comes to your staff, listening might not be the quality that your Patients would say is what they remember. In fact, they’d tell you a completely different story, right? Most Patients would love to tell you how they were treated by a member of your team. And, more often than not, people leave a medical office because they don’t feel heard by your staff. Am I right?
Like that memorable scene in Goodwill Hunting, “It’s not your fault.”
Well, it kind of is if you think about it. Especially if you’re the Physician-CEO or leader of the medical practice that does all the hiring of your team. And isn’t how a member of your team interacts and communicates with a patient also part of ‘patient care?’
How can you help your staff listen intentionally and with empathy to your Patients that you’d like to care for a lifetime?
Well, we have a thought on that and it comes to us from outside of the healthcare marketplace.
Just Ask For Feedback.
There’s a lot of ways to do this and we think you may just want to pick one that works for you. But, the first step in the listening process is important and it’s often omitted or removed in medical offices because face-to-face interactions with Patients are presumed to be communicative and relational. But in fact, most Patients and Physicians today would agree that visiting a Doctor’s office (outside of those in Concierge Medicine and a few other models) are anything but environments that Patients would consider relational and communicative.
Most medical offices dismiss the idea of asking for patient feedback or improvement because they assume that visiting the practice in-person today and talking to the Patient about their co-pay or insurance coverage is simply relational enough.
But it’s not.
Would it surprise you to learn that more than 8/10 patients who are actively seeking to find a new primary care physician left their current medical practice because they didn’t feel listened to, cared for or appreciated?
In-person visits with your staff that let’s be honest, is nothing more than “fill this form out …” or “your next visit will be on …” is not patient-centered.
By requesting feedback you make it easy for Patients to leave comments, ask questions, provide pro tips and even submit complaints.
But they’d have nothing to complain about at your practice, right?
More often than not Patients are afraid to publicly say something to you about your staff for fear it might impact or harm the relationship they have with you, the Physician.
By asking for feedback you provide a valuable tool and outlet that can help you create those returning Patients that you so desire. It might seem silly but there’s a reason why airports, warehouse clubs and emergency rooms do this.
Make sure your Patients know how they can provide you and your team with feedback. You may also want to assure them that you want to hear what they have to say and will within reason, take the necessary steps to ensure they are happy.
Remember, Patients comeback to your practice because of how you made them feel, not because you simply treated them for pneumonia.
A great resource and program we like is the “Start, Stop, Continue” retrospective. You can learn more about it here. Note: This is not an endorsement or a paid sponsorship/advertisement. It’s simply one idea that we thought might be helpful to Physicians. Thank you.