We often hear doctors remark that they run a high quality practice. When asked to explain further, doctors invariably cite their superior clinical abilities. Elaborating further, these doctors report that they offer the latest in clinical procedures, use the highest quality materials, as well as higher priced labs. Doctors also mention their long‑term, well‑trained staff as a final contributor to their high‑quality clinical care.
Unfortunately, most patients lack the ability to discern good clinical treatment from bad. Most patients assume that the doctor is going to provide quality care from a clinical standpoint. As long as their pain in alleviated, and the problem that they wish addressed is fixed, they are satisfied.
Patients look beyond clinical care to determine quality. As we discussed recently, patients primarily evaluate quality based upon the image of the practice as presented in its printed materials, practice facility and equipment, and as represented by the staff and doctor. These images convey the value that is added to the patient visit. This added value is what makes the patients happy, makes them come back, and makes them tell their friends about your office.
What Makes Up “Quality” Patient Service?
There are many aspects of the office printed materials, the facility and equipment, and the staff and doctor which convey the image of quality to the patients. Listed are important factors that best convey quality patient service:
- Prompt phone answering
- Good phone management with patients and referring doctors
- Answering patient questions on a timely basis
- Providing appointment times convenient to the patient's schedule
- Confirming appointments
- Convenient location
- Easy parking with reasonable or no parking fees
- A “patient friendly” office facility
- Respect for patient confidentiality
- “Patient friendly” personnel
- A receptionist who is not too busy to greet patients as they check in at the front desk
- Clinical treatment personnel who are able to make the patient feel comfortable
- An office that is attractive
- An office that is not noisy, but rather calm and professional
- A doctor who is neat and well‑groomed
- A doctor who listens to the patient's complaints and does not interrupt
- A doctor who explains what he or she will be and is doing during the course of treatment
- A doctor who explains the problems and suggested plan of action in easy to understand layman’s language