Having worked in healthcare my entire career, I like to think that I know exactly what to expect when I go into a doctor’s office for the first time. Chances are I’ve already visited their website, and printed out and completed the patient forms. At arrival, my insurance card is in one hand and my credit card for the co-pay is in the other. When the receptionist starts to explain HIPAA, I assure him/her that I’m already very familiar. All set!
But that’s me.
What if you’re someone who’s never worked in healthcare or who’s spent little time in a doctor’s or specialist’s office? Someone who doesn’t know what to expect of the patient experience?
No matter what your tie to healthcare, all of us need to observe the following when seeking medical care at a hospital or ambulatory practice:
- Is the staff friendly and welcoming?
- Do they call me by name?
- Do they give me their attention, or do I feel like an interruption?
- Is their appropriate, easily accessible media in the waiting room (magazines, T.V., Wi-Fi)?
Once behind closed doors of the exam room, we should also note:
- Do staff members identify themselves by name and title?
- Do they tell me what they are going to do, such as taking my blood pressure? Or do they just do it without saying a word?
- How long do I wait before the provider enters the exam room, and does he/she greet me and introduce him/herself?
Here’s the big question and challenge: How do we create a unique experience from start to finish that lets patients know we acknowledge and honor them, that we’re skilled and knowledgeable, and that we’re in their corner? Most important, how do we show them we care?