Secrets To Obtaining 100 Percent Patient Satisfaction

By Kristin Titko, DPM

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.     Determine what type of scheduling process works best for you. For some, it is seeing one patient every 15 minutes. Some physicians are able to see more and some see less. However, if you are repeatedly running behind schedule, it may be time to reassess your scheduling techniques. Also monitor your office for bottlenecks at the front desk, at the check-in counter during the billing process and the time that it takes your staff to bring your patients into and out of their treatment rooms.     Do not forget to monitor your own efficiency and be sure to focus on your patient’s current concern instead of spending excess time in the room on small talk. Certainly, small talk is important but watch your clock and stay on schedule. We all treat many of the same conditions over and over throughout our day so develop a “canned speech” for these most common conditions that present to your office so your flow is more consistent as opposed to coming across as uncertain and hesitant. Make use of the staff’s training. Instruct them on how to educate patients on their conditions and give them guidelines on answering questions that patients frequently ask. Doing so enables your staff to help decrease the time you need to spend with your patients without compromising patient care.

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