– DOING THE UNEXPECTED –
Seems the general public, even though they must tolerate it, are pretty upset with a lot of things about the relationship they have with their doctor and his/her staff. Listed below are a few of the most common complaints and a suggested way of handling them:
I was referred to this doctor by a good friend of mine. They couldn’t get me in for at least two weeks.
Every office should know approximately how long it takes to process a new patient. Depending on how many new patients are desired on any given day specific times should be set aside for that purpose. The time can double to schedule “walk-in’s”, patients who do not have an appointment and emergencies and a time to do re-examinations/re-evaluations.
I have a difficult time getting a timely appointment with my doctor even in case of emergencies:
Always make time for your patients. Understand their definition of an emergency and yours are likely quite different. Have specific times each and everyday to take care of the unexpected patient who feels the need to get in right way. On occasion when all time slots are filled be willing to stay during lunch or after hours.
Even though I am given a specific appointment time I am never seen at that appointment time. I always have to wait and it is usually a long wait. The doctor nor his/her staff have no appreciation for my time.
Make every effort possible to adhere to given appointment times. In cases where patients are forced to wait beyond their appointed time instruct your staff to make them aware of the situation. If they are to wait more than 10 minutes past their appointment have the staff give them option of continuing to wait (with an estimate of how long that may be) or rescheduling.
No matter when I call the office I can never talk to the doctor.
There are times when a patient feels it is essential to talk to the doctor. Situations which they do not feel comfortable talking to a staff member about. Have your staff explain “the doctor is with a patient” or “the doctor is unavailable right now.” I understand your concern and will ask him/her to call you as soon as possible. In what may be urgent situations/circumstances the staff member should ask the calling party to hold… take a “post-em” note to the doctor and respond in like kind. Set aside specific times in your day when you will return calls to patients and do so.
I am never able to contact my doctor. He/She doesn’t have a home phone and I have no way of reaching him/her.
During a new patients report of findings visit one of the last things to do is to take out one of your business cards. Say something like “Mary….I want you know nothing is more important to me than you, your health and how I may help you. I’m going to put my personal number on the back of this card. I want you to know if there is a time, after hours, weekends or holidays, when you feel the need to do so, I want you to call me….okay?!”
As a Chiropractor you are a very special health care provider. No one can do what you can do. When you opened the doors of your practice your life no longer belonged to you. Your time is no longer your own. You have committed yourself to serve sick and suffering humanity in a way no other can and should do so well above and beyond what anyone would expect. Do the unexpected!