I recently walked into a local urgent care on a Friday before a three-day weekend for what turned out to be a minor sprained ankle. The facility was magnificently modern and clean. Bowls of healthy snacks were set up by the water cooler, and atop each faux leather seat sat a ready-to-go iPad, which had the full attention of the other people waiting. A few minutes after signing in, I was called in to be seen by a doctor.
What struck me more than the stark contrast between this nouveau medical environment and that of my primary care doctor’s office were the friendly follow-up phone calls being made at the front desk. These scrub-clad practitioners spoke with their patients as though they’d known them for years and were familiar with their medical issues—they seemed to really care. Another patient checking out after her appointment even wished aloud that her primary care doctor was more like the one she’d seen today.
It occurred to me that the old saying, “Happy wife, happy life” may apply to doctors and patients as well. Turns out, I’m not far off. According to Physicians Practice, “An inherent connection exists between physician and patient satisfaction. The gratification of one isn’t possible without the happiness of the other. So by ensuring that patients are pleased, physicians not only help bolster practice revenue—they nurture their own job fulfillment.”
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With this in mind, there are ways to ensure that satisfaction ratings remain high:
- Gain a greater understanding of the service experience from your patient’s point of view. There are a number of innovative research techniques that can prove invaluable to the overall health of your practice.
- Use the results, which can pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, to understand what you’re doing well and where you may be falling short. Even the smallest improvements can benefit doctors and their patients enormously.
- Create and maintain an up-to-date patient portal for quick scheduling of appointments, online forms to be filled out before the scheduled appointment and easy-to-follow directions to your office.
Admittedly, there are many differences between urgent care and primary care offices, but keeping doctors and patients satisfied is surely one goal they have in common.