Secrets To Obtaining 100 Percent Patient Satisfaction

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Keeping your staff motivated, educated and appreciated is essential to facilitating strong patient satisfaction.
A little extra time and effort can go a long way in bolstering satisfaction among your current patients and increasing the number of new patient referrals to your practice, according to the author.
By Kristin Titko, DPM

    Do we all know the basics of how to make our patients’ visits satisfactory when they are in our office? What brings your patients back to your office once they have been there? What encourages your patients to send their friends, family and acquaintances to your practice? In today’s world of decreasing reimbursements for our hard work, we need to know how to work smarter so it does not feel like we are forced to work harder. Retaining patients and increasing the number of new patients we see can be easier than you think. All it requires is a little extra time and effort.

    There are some simple extras you can add to your office. The reception room is your patients’ first impression of your cleanliness and attention to detail is important. Do not disappoint them. You would never consider putting a clock in your reception room but sit out in the room for a few moments and you would soon appreciate a television or at least a radio. (Remember to be selective with the channels.) A coffee maker with simple fixings can go a long way and a water cooler is clean, simple and appreciated. A small vending machine with chocolates and salty choices is a pleasant surprise but be sure it stays stocked and functional. Keep a small trashcan easily accessible. Ensure that the carpet is vacuumed at least every morning and at lunch break. Have someone tidy up the magazines throughout the day. Do not forget to keep the temperature well regulated. Your patients may be sitting for a while in the treatment room with their shoes and socks off so do not let it get too cold and uncomfortable.

    Keep the staff’s food and drink out of the patient’s sight. You want an atmosphere of a professional office, not a fast food restaurant. Make sure all food areas are cleaned daily. The most important “simple extra” that may often be overlooked is location, location, location. This is not so much the location of your office but more specifically, the location of your treatment rooms. Many of your patients come to you with painful feet and have difficulty walking. Accordingly, one should strive to have ample parking close to your building, an entrance ramp and a short, uncomplicated route from the front door to the treatment room. Avoid long hallways and stairs.

How Maximizing Office Efficiency Can Boost Patient Satisfaction

    If a patient calls for an appointment, the key is to see the patient that same day. We build our business on new patients. If one is calling you, why pass him or her over to someone else? No schedule is too full to accommodate one more patient that day. Once the patient is in your office, see him or her on time. Ask your new patients to come 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment time so they can complete the paperwork (unless they can do it online before they ever get to your office). This gives you time to call the insurance company to get prior authorization before the scheduled appointment time starts.

    It is important in the realm of office efficiency that the doctor arrives on time for patient care. It is unfair to your staff and your patients not to be ready to start seeing patients on time. If you do start to fall behind schedule during the course of the day, instruct your staff to bring this to your attention. They can post a sticky note in your dictation area or any other location in your office that you would be able to see throughout the day. If your insurance contracts allow, collect the patient’s co-pay at the front desk prior to his or her office visit. This will help decrease a bottleneck at the checkout desk. It will also help save you from having to send a bill to your patient if he or she “sneaks out” before your staff sees him or her at the end of their visit. Be sure to keep patient due balances to a minimum by continually collecting balances due from patients at the front desk.

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