Courtesy, Office Style
Refer to this post for the beginning of the series: http://dr-lasermed.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-we-can-learn-from-restaurant.html
I have always tried to run my office with as much care and kindness as possible. I treat my patients the way I would want to be treated. Over the years, my staff and I have worked at finding ways to make things as comfortable and patient friendly as possible.
We start when people schedule their visit. My front office person (Princess) is always polite. She goes out of her way to make sure our patients get an appointment time that is convenient. She tries to remember if they have children that need to get on or off the bus, they work nights, etc. New patients get asked what time is convenient, and she does everything she can to work around their schedule. She also makes sure they know how to find the office. Princess calls people the day before their appointment, reminds them of the time and checks to see if they need those directions again.
If the patient is coming after having been seen in another office, we ask her to bring her records if possible. This avoids a second visit with another fee. This is something that most people don’t think about. We try to be aware of cost to the patient of everything we do. This includes the time away from work or other regular daily activities.
We have also tried to find the best and least expensive places to have lab work and diagnostic testing. Sometimes this is dictated by insurance. If our patients are paying cash, price is important. I believe this will be more common in the future. Patients don’t think of these things, so we try to be helpful this way.
Remember, this is a gynecology office, so there are certain things that we do that are just not going to be pleasant. I can’t help that. But I can explain up front what is going to happen, wait for the discomfort to pass, let women lie on the table or sit in the exam room until they feel better, etc. I also tell patients that I hate pain as much as they do. I use anesthetics or have them take medications before procedures if possible to minimize pain. I also talk to them while something is going on. Many of my patients don’t realize that I have even started doing some nasty test, and it’s already done. Over the years I have been problem solving both in and out of the exam room this way.
I try to take a practical approach to treatments, too. I know most of my patients are busy women. If it’s too complicated, too expensive, or she doesn’t believe in that particular treatment she often isn’t going to finish it. I try to pay attention to how my patients feel about different treatments, medications etc.
We also make sure patients have follow up appointments scheduled before they leave the office, whether it is here at our office or with another doctor. I also let them know what to expect from their medications or after a treatment. If any testing was done, one of us calls the patient with the results, even if they are negative. It’s important to follow through.
There are some issues with these policies. That will be part three in the series!