Warning Signs That Your Practice Isn’t Patient Friendly

The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. We were discussing chiropractors. My friend made the comment, “All doctors think they are God.”

Wow, I was stunned, but then I realized that many people feel that way about doctors. Even if that is an exaggeration, there is something to it. Doctors (and staff) sometimes unintentionally give off an impression of superiority. They give off the impression that they are doing the patient a favor by seeing them. It’s usually a subtle thing, but patients do pick up on it.

As I thought about it, the more I realized that this is one of the biggest reasons many practices struggle — they aren’t patient centered. It’s easy to fall into this trap, but if you do, you may never get out.

Take an honest look at you, your staff, and your clinic and try to see just how patient centered you really are. Here are a few things to start with:

  1. When the patient walks in the front door, what do they see? Is your waiting room inviting? Do you have clean and comfortable chairs for them to sit in? Are there magazines for them to read (something that hasn’t been around since 1974)?It may not seem like much, but to your patients this can go a long way in letting them know you really care about them and want to make them comfortable. You wouldn’t invite people into your home and sit them in the garbage with dim lights and uncomfortable chairs, would you? Why would you treat your patients that way?
  2. How good is your front desk staff? No, I don’t just mean how good are they at doing their specific tasks, I mean how good are they with the patients? Do they smile? Do they remember the faces of the people who have been in recently? Do they ask how the patient is doing… and then listen when the patients answers?This is all part of putting the patient first. And I know I’ve written about it before, but if you have an office with one of those glass partitions, get rid of it! If you can’t get rid of it, at least make sure your staff keeps the window open all the way, all the time. Nothing feels more unwelcoming than seeing someone hiding away from you in a cage!
  3. Speaking of your waiting room, how long do you keep people waiting on average? I know, we all have days when everything seems to go wrong and our schedules are irrevocably broken, but those days should be few and far between. Just because you have a comfortable waiting room doesn’t mean your patients should be spending a lot of time there.

These tips should give you a good starting place on honestly evaluating the level of patient friendliness your practice exudes. If you go through this list and find that you aren’t doing as good of a job as you could in one or more of these areas, make the needed changes as soon as you can. Make sure you and your office staff make it crystal clear to each one of your patients that you realize if it weren’t for them (the patients) you wouldn’t be there, and you truly appreciate them for it!

I hope you found this information helpful. If you require any staff for your office, please feel free to call anytime. We place all office staff, DC, MD, PA, NP PT and PTAs.

Have a great day!

Brian Torchin