I’ve been lucky – while I have cooled my heels in a doctor’s waiting room, I’ve never waited around for hours. Of course, I wouldn’t wait – I’d change first. I also have little patience for a practice that will never – ever – return a call before 5PM. They never pick up directly – they always have to call you back. So, I sat there, bill and credit card in hand – and I’m supposed to wait around until they decide to call me back?
Here’s the secret to business success: when they offer you cash – take the cash.
A piece on CNN Health was sad in this day. We’ve been bombarded by books, videos and seminars on customer service, yet customer service still slides ever lower. To me, it’s reflective of the “Me Generation” – a self-centered approach to the world where the “Me” – the physician, the staff – operate around their needs rather than the needs of the patient/customer. With pocket shortages of physicians in some specialties (primarily primary care), they can often get away with it. It’s wrong on an ethical basis, it’s a great way to anger patients, which leads to other problems and confrontations (such as suits) and is simply bad business for the long term health of the practice. People may tolerate bad behavior,
This is an old blog post, but still very relevant
As I’ve said many times: if you’re always running late, stop scheduling so many patients. If you are staying late in the evening because of the backup – adjust the schedule to reflect reality. And find a mid-level practitioner ASAP to offload some of the work, and put the drug reps on a schedule. Nothing will annoy a patient more than to be cooling their heels in the waiting room, only to watch the drug reps slide in with a wave.
The key to turning a practice under management pressure to a practice that is running effectively and profitably lies in your business process – how efficient do you see patients? Are there too many obstacles in moving patients through to maximize the physician time with the patient?
As for the patients in your waiting room: your assistant has called out a name.
(Assistant and patient remain motionless).