We understand how frustrating it is to cater to very impatient and agitated patients. While most patients can go through their doctor’s appointment without a single complaint, there are some patients who feel the need to put on a show. Some reasons are reasonable, while most can be quite funny and appalling.
Some patients simply don’t understand how busy you are and that sometimes you just can’t handle everything all at once. With all the tasks on your plate (and if there are only a few staff members, it only becomes harder), it’s difficult to be on top of everything. From answering phone calls to scheduling appointments to medical billing - yikes! So many tasks, too little time.
However, from a patient's POV, not being catered to right away can be frustrating. This blog post would be lying to you it simply mentioned that all patients wait patiently for their turn to see the doctor. We all know that isn’t accurate. From the moment your patient steps foot in your clinic until when your patient leaves, he or she observes and scrutinizes everything. That is why it is so important that you leave a good impression!
So, before revealing the top patient complaints, let’s discuss the importance of patient complaints.
While some get annoyed with patient complaints, others will use these complaints to their advantage. When patients complain, practice managers or the front desk staff, should take note and discuss these complaints during internal meetings. What should then be done is find the silver lining and then make sure that any mistakes that happened are corrected. Believe it or not, some complaints are constructive and can help promote safety, reduce risks and help your practice improve.
Most patients complain because they are not satisfied with the service that they have received during their visit. If you record, analyze, and create solutions to these complaints, you can help grow your practice. If patients feel that their opinions are being valued and that you acknowledge their complaints, they are more likely to come back.
So, if you do get a patient complaint, first apologize. Then, smile, write down their concerns and make sure to create strategies and come up with solutions that will make your practice better.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of complaints, we will now discuss the major complaints about visiting a physician’s office.
Do you know how long a patient is willing to wait for his appointment? According to Patient Engagement Health, the waiting time of each patient varies, depending on the state a patient lives in, but the average waiting time for a single patient is only up to 18 minutes.
The longer they have to wait to be seen by the doctor, the more impatient they get. And if the wait time becomes too long, they might just leave. Or, if they do decide to stay, they will leave with a negative impression and possibly never come back. You have to put yourself in your patient’s shoes, are you willing to wait half an hour to an hour for your turn? I bet you’d say “no.” And that’s exactly how your patients would respond as well.
You may be stuck at the clinic the whole day but that doesn’t mean your patients should be too. Their waiting time might affect the rest of their day such as scheduled business meetings, picking up their kids in school, or even their medication/eating schedules. Your patients are busy people - so simply, try to be mindful and respectful of their time. Try your best to get them in to see the doctor on time and you will be able to avoid a lot of angry patients.
Responsive Office Time
How responsive are you to your patients? Does it take a few hours or days before you can get back to them? Does it take them more than an hour to schedule an appointment with the doctor? Making them wait too long for a response is bad and should be avoided.
Many practices now offer different ways of responding to their patients. You can now respond to your patients via phone, email, and even through an online healthcare portal. Most patients said that they could wait up to 48 hours for a response; that can help put their mind at ease.
Technology today has rapidly improved. You can utilize this by creating different modes of communication. Nowadays, providing a phone number may not be enough especially if you have a lot of patients. By providing an email address where your patients can communicate with you would be good. And offering an online healthcare portal can make things easier and more convenient for your patients. Also, patients desire to book appointments online, so offering an online booking system on your website can help your patients schedule appointments faster and during times that are most convenient for them.
Also, patients do not only communicate with their providers when they want an appointment. That’s why it is important for your patients to feel supported by you at all times even if they do not have an appointment scheduled anytime soon. Most of the time, they contact you for important actions such as symptom management, medication issues, disability forms, and questions regarding their therapy. You have to ensure that you can respond to these inquiries so that you can build a good relationship with your patients.
Availability of your clinic
Aside from providing different platforms of communication, your clinic must also be available for your patients especially during urgent matters and emergency situations. Have you provided a way for your patients to easily contact you in times of need? Can they easily call you and locate your clinic? If your patients feel like they can reach you whenever they need you, then your patients will feel at ease, supported, connected - this is the goal.
Time with Provider
Let’s face it, it’s such a disappointment if a patients feel like they’re being rushed by their doctor during an appointment. It is unacceptable for a patient to feel rushed or as if they didn’t receive good care during their visit. The time that providers spend with their patients is very valuable. After all, your patients are paying you for your services. Providing great customer service and satisfaction should be the ultimate goal for any practice if you want your patients to keep coming back and endorse your practice to others. Your patients should receive ample time for questions and a summary of each visit. They should never feel rushed.
Patients expect a smooth-sailing checkout. As we’ve mentioned earlier, patients observe and scrutinize your clinic the moment they step inside. They expect ease of payment and lack of billing errors. Of course, mistakes are inevitable but that doesn’t mean it should happen all the time. Patients tend to be more frustrated by the complex system of insurance-based payor methods. However, on your end, just make sure that your patients are able to check out with no problems.
These are just five out of the many key areas that can help make your practice grow. No practice is perfect but if you try your best to make your practice smoother and provide a satisfactory job, your patients will be happier.
Now, you might feel a little pressure with all this information being laid out to you. You don’t need to do it alone. DrCatalyst has a lot of services that can help you such as Remote Phone Assistance, New Patient Concierge Services, and a whole lot more. All you need to do is visit www.drcatalyst.com and schedule an appointment so that we can help you ensure that your number of patient complaints decrease and that your patient experience improves.
Don’t wait for your patients to leave you for another provider. Step up your A-game and be the best in what you do!