Friday, January 29, 2010

How to make your patients smile

You're busy running a medical practice, so it can sometimes be hard to remember why you went into medicine - let alone spend extra energy keeping all your patients happy. But smiling patients is good for your wallet and your pscyhe. So for the February column The List, we outlined seven ways to make your patients smile. Here are a few:
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1. Be on time.
Nothing makes patients feel more frustrated than still being in your waiting room 30 minutes after their appointment time or spending 15 extra minutes waiting in a thin gown in an exam room. Feeling like you respect their time by keeping on schedule is sure to please your patients. Plus, for you and your staff, it relieves the stress of constantly apologizing to irritated patients for your lateness.

2. Enter the exam room prepared.
It is comforting for patients to feel like they are not a number, that they will be heard and cared for. That comfort is lost when you come into the exam room and have to look in the chart or laptop for the patient’s name and reason for the visit. Take that extra minute before you walk into the exam room to review the chart so you can greet the patient by name and show awareness of his symptoms.

3. Follow-up and communicate.
If your patient has had lab work or testing, was referred to a specialist, or presented with significant symptoms, make time to call her to follow up. See how she’s doing and report on any lab or test results. This helps patients feel secure that your practice is concerned about their health and didn’t forget them as soon as they left the office. Your staff can help with follow-up calls as well.

For the rest of the ways, check out the list online. And let us know in the comments here what other ways you keep patients smiling.

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