Home > Uncategorized > Every Word Counts: First Encounters

Every Word Counts: First Encounters

by: Jesus C. Vazquez

Running a practice in the current, ever-changing, model of practicing medicine can be a challenging endeavor, not only for the physician, but also for the entire staff. Often times, the majority of the time patients spend is in encounters with the office staff. This can be a challenging task, due to the diversity of personalities, and backgrounds of your patients. With the shrinking reimbursements, and overwhelming amount of insurance denials, the practice of today has to see more and more patients to keep their doors open. Often times, this leads to the decline of quality care that patients receive.

At times offices invest in expensive computer systems, hire consultants, all in hopes to optimize their income and productivity. Ultimately this can be a wise investment.

Have you ever considered that you already have the valuable tools, to increase quality of care, while at the same time optimizing revenue for your practice?

They are Words: they are free and are the most powerful tools to ensure the success of your practice.Take into consideration that the words you choose to present information are extremely crucial to their perception and assessment of the quality of care they receive in your practice. From this point on, lets not call the individuals coming through your door “patients”, but instead, they should be referred to as “guests”. And what is a great host to do, but to ensure a happy visit and a comfortable encounter at your office.

Provide an enthusiastic greeting

Take for example the greeting your office staff provides to your guests walking in. Is that person simply acknowledging their entrance and going through the modalities of checking them in? Or is this person greeting them with enthusiasm and a genuine welcome? It is important that your office agrees in the manner that you greet your guests. Individuals require the constant need to feel comfortable; they require the need to feel they have made the right choice to come in to your practice. Remember individuals tend to be drawn towards those who they can relate to and with those who can understand them.

Since words are very powerful, here are some phrases you might consider using:

“It is nice to see you come in”.

“Thank you for coming in today”

Remember our practices depend on the continual cycle of guests coming in. Every single person feels the desire to belong, the need to be appreciated. Make your patients feel connected with your practice and with the staff that always provides them with a warm welcome and a friendly goodbye.

“You are always on-time on our clock”

If you want to make a good impression, and acknowledge the importance of every individual walking in, even if they are late, use this phrase. Often times tardy patients are acknowledged with a rushed look and a dissatisfied greeting. Make sure that you let your patients know their importance; and that being late for what-ever reason will not set the tone for their entire appointment. Take for example what happens at the airport when you miss your plane. The airline doesn’t simply send you home. They put you on the next plane.

So should your office allow your patient to be seen, be allowed to take the next available appointment. Realize that when you anxiously wait for a guest at home, you welcome them with excitement and a warm welcome no matter what the circumstances of their arrival.

“Thank you for bringing this up”

Dealing with complaints is highly uncomfortable and undesired for most individuals. By nature we would like to flee every time we know we’ll be dealing with a tough situation. Instead, take note of complains and assure your guest that the issue will be addressed and that you will get back to them with a resolution. Realize that helping solve complains along side of your guest can further strengthen the relationship between all parties involved. It is when your patients feel welcomed to address any issues that they feel the desire to continue their care at your office. Besides, how is an office to improve when it knows not what it is doing wrong?

“We made a mistake, but my name is________ and I will make sure we address this issue with priority”

The best practice is not the one that makes no mistakes, but the one that makes the least. It is extremely important that every individual owns their mistakes, especially clerical mistakes. How many times do you fail to get an authorization and later your guest calls wondering whatever happened with that request. Never lie to your guests. Everyone is owed the respect to be told that something has fallen through the cracks and that extra attention will be put into addressing the issue. Never lie or try and hide the truth.

Wouldn’t you rather have your office be known for making a mistake, rather than being called a liar once your guest finds out the truth. We all make mistakes, and acknowledging them and addressing them makes your office more human, and respected for speaking the truth. Remember your guests value consistent honesty, which will determine good outcomes. Honesty fosters good relations, and dependency to work any issue out.

We all deserve words that make us feel comfortable to be part of something. By selecting key phrases your office can improve satisfaction and quality for your guests. Every individual wants to relate to your office, to each staff member. Remember your when it comes to caring for your guests, words can have a meaningful impact in helping you achieve higher quality care. And the best thing about it, is that words are free to use. Make sure your words express genuine care, do not be a story teller, rather be a story maker!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 27, 2012 at 12:30 am

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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