Healthcare is a competitive business. It doesn’t matter if your facility is in a small town or a big city. Your patients have more choice than ever before when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider. Technology has even given society the gift of being able to virtually meet with a physician or nurse practitioner using a web cam or a smartphone. One of the reasons why people choose to change where they spend their money is because of the way that they are treated. It’s important that your healthcare facility provides excellent customer service. That means that we have to kill these 5 bad habits.
Bad Habit #1 – Don’t Talk Down to Your Cash Patients
Although health insurance is easier to access than ever before, there are still people that don’t have it. It could be that they choose to self-insure. It could be that Medicaid wasn’t expanded in their state and so they still don’t have access to affordable insurance. Regardless of the reason that someone has for not using health insurance, it is not the place of your office staff to talk down to that person.
A lack of insurance, particularly when it comes to a routine office visit, doesn’t mean that someone can’t afford to pay their bill. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have a job. It only means that they’ve chosen to pay your healthcare facility with cash.
Judging your patients for not using health insurance is one of the worst habits of all. How they choose to pay their bill shouldn’t matter to your facility as long as its paid. In fact, some of the healthcare facilities provide a cash discount because those who pay with cash are doing what some people who have insurance don’t do. They are paying their bill in full.
Bad Habit #2 – Not Listening to the Patient
People don’t go to the doctor because they’re looking for a good conversation. People go to the doctor because something is wrong or because it’s simply time for their yearly checkup. Whatever the reason for your patient’s visit, don’t tune them out. When doctors and other medical staff practice active listening skills, it improves your ability to provide the right treatment, it minimizes potential mistakes, and it improves the relationship between you and your patient. When patients feel like you’ve taken the time to listen, they are more likely to remain in your care and to refer you to their family and friends.
Bad Habit #3 – Failing to Follow-up
You can’t treat everything. So, sometimes referring your patient over to a specialist is a natural course of action. It’s important that when you tell your patient that a referral will be made that it will be done. Inform your patient roughly how long it will take for your office to initiate the referral and whether or not they will hear from someone when it is completed. Don’t leave your patient guessing.
Bad Habit #4 – Rude Staff
Everyone has a bad day. However, it is important that those bad days aren’t taken out on the patients. Your patients are the reason why you are in business and why your staff receives a paycheck. It is very important that your staff treats all patients, even the difficult ones, well.
Bad Habit #5 – Not Returning Phone Calls
Remember that you and the staff that helps you care for patients are more knowledgeable about health conditions, medications, and everything pertaining to the healthcare field. When patient phone calls are not returned in a timely manner, your patients worry and some will think that you simply don’t care about them. It is important that your patients get the return calls that they are expecting within a reasonable amount of time. They should also know roughly how long it may be before they hear back from your office.
Need Help With Your Customer Service?
If your healthcare facility needs help with customer service, give Clients ARM a call. We have more than 30 years of Director level experience. We can help your facility regardless of its size. We offer services specific to healthcare facilities including patient intake, customer service, ICD coding, and electronic claims filing. Give Clients ARM a call today at 206-596-3000 to schedule your free review.