– ANSWERING BEFORE BEING ASKED –
A fact frequently overlooked by doctor and staff is patients are just like you. Patients, when they visit you for the first time have the same fears, concerns anxiety as you have when you visit a doctor of another discipline….your dentist for a dental issue, your OB/GYN for a medical issue, etc. They have questions they want you to answer. Even though all patients have basically the same questions, few will verbalize them.
Every patient……EVERY patient has five questions in their mind when they call your office for an appointment:
1. Do you know what is wrong with me?
2. Can you help me?
3. How long will it take?
4. How much will it cost?
In this day and time a very important question which very few doctors or staff even recognize, much less address.
5. How can I pay for it?
While recognizing the questions exist is important doing so to the satisfaction of the patient is far more important. Patients who feel the questions have been answered; especially answered before they were ever asked will comply with treatment plans, pay their bill and refer friends and family.
This task can be accomplished in the first couple of minutes of the consultation with a “The Pre-Consultation Dialogue.” Yes…this is a “script” to be memorized:
1. M’s Jones I want to thank you for choosing me and my clinic. Before we get started I want to tell you how we do things, okay? (wait for a response).
2. Whenever I accept a patient there are only two things I’m interested in:
A. Can I find out what is wrong with you?
B. Can I help you?
3. I’ll be asking you a lot of questions so I can get to the bottom of the cause of your problem as rapidly as possible.
4. You need to provide clear, concise answers, okay? (wait for a response)
5. Not only am I interested in what’s wrong with you and whether I can help you, I am equally concerned about the high cost of health care today.
6. I promise you I won’t do anything, tests, treatment or therapy which I do not feel is absolutely necessary in your case. I will do all I can to explain the cost and how it can be paid for.
7. If I find out what what’s wrong, feel I can help and accept you as a patient, all I ask is that you cooperate with whatever I feel is in your best interest.
8. Do you feel you will be able to cooperate with the recommendations I may make? (wait for a response). Good…..let’s get started.
While the pre-consultation does not address the specific issues concerning the patient, it does let them know you know their concerns and will go to lengths to answer each and everyone of their five questions.