When patients visit a doctor’s office, they are often uneasy about what to expect. Even for a routine screening, some of them worry that a serious medical issue will be diagnosed. Others are concerned about whether they will like the doctor and if he or she will have the necessary training to handle their care competently. If you manage an eye care practice, there are several things you can do to make sure your patients are comfortable, physically and emotionally, during their visits.
Eye care patients may need to have things explained in simple phrasing. Many might have little to no previous experience visiting an eye doctor, and they don’t know what to expect. When scheduling an appointment or welcoming a new patient, describe the process that will be followed. Explain what types of information or documentation will be needed. Avoid using technical terms when possible to keep things on a familiar level.
Provide a Welcoming Waiting Area
The eye doctor’s reception area should be relatively tidy with an adjoined but separate area for children to read books or play with toys while waiting. Bright lighting and an attractive décor with comfortable seating can help patients to relax. Soft background music or informative videos may be provided. The restroom facility should also be kept neat and clean.
Maintain a Calm and Pleasant Demeanor
Employees should remember to be patient with patients, some of who may be irritable or even a bit frightened. A friendly smile and a professional but serene attitude help visitors to relax and feel more secure in the office. Information about the practice and the doctor in the form of fliers or brochures should be available to patients who are there for the first time. Offering reassurance about each aspect of their care will help patients to adjust to the situation.
Invite Questions and Feedback
Patients are more likely to build trust with an eye doctor when they feel their opinion is valued. Encourage them to ask staff members or the doctor any questions they have about their exam, diagnosis, or treatment options. To ensure patient needs are being met, ask if they are willing to complete a brief survey or questionnaire, and if possible, offer incentives, such as a five-dollar coupon toward the purchase of new eyeglasses. Sincere comments will be worth that, and more, in establishing patient rapport and gaining insight about how the practice is perceived.
Treat patients with courtesy and kindness, and they not only will continue to return for future treatment, but also refer family and friends to your practice as well.