All medical practices are, at their heart, about serving and helping people through an illness so that they can experience better health, live longer, or manage their diseases. Oftentimes though a medical office can become bogged down with running the business side of their practice so that they are unable to give as much time as they could otherwise to taking care of their patients. Clients today complain about lack of time during an appointment, nobody answering their calls, and loss of important medical records. While each medical office is different there are practices that most of them can adopt to increase patient care and decrease complaints.
A common complaint that patients have when discussing the lack of care they experience at medical facilities is spending less time with a doctor during their appointment. While it is unfair to expect a doctor to spend hours with any given patient, it is also unfair to a patient who is ill to get less than ten minutes with a hurried doctor who may already be behind schedule. It is hard to give only one tip that can improve doctor customer relations across the board, but trying to spend a little more time as needed with each patient can be one of the most important customer relation acts that a medical office can provide. This can be accomplished not by seeing fewer patients but instead by delegating other tasks to nurses and administrative employees. Administrative tasks should not be performed by a doctor who has a full-schedule of patients to contend with each day. And while nurses can’t be expected to perform all doctor and office duties, they can be given more responsibilities as a doctor sees fit. Of course, there will also come a time when the best thing to do is to schedule less patients throughout the day. After all there is only so much of a doctor that can go around without him or her working 24 hours in a day.
A second complaint that patients often have is when they can’t get in touch with their medical office to make an appointment or speak with a nurse or doctor. Imagine how you feel when you call a business and there is no one to answer the phone. If it’s after hours you may feel that it’s expected that the office would be closed and that you would get an answering machine. However, medical practices that are responsible for patients who may be very ill should not just shut off their phone lines when they are not in the office. This doesn’t mean that they should never leave the office at night, take a lunch, or go on vacation. Instead, by providing an alternative answering service a medical office can continue providing customer service while they are away from the office or otherwise unavailable. A medical answering service can take calls, relay messages, make appointments, and give advice to patients who call when the office is closed. If you aren’t taking advantage of a live answering service you could be losing out on patients who are calling and not leaving messages.
Lastly, if you haven’t converted to electronic medical records yet you are truly not giving your patients the 100 percent patient care that they deserve. Loss of medical records can occur even to the most diligently organized medical center. Electronic medical records that are backed up outside of the office, such as an online cloud service, can keep medical records safe and secure even when their paper counterparts can’t be found. In addition, rather than taking the time to handle various paper charts, notes, and records you can save time and money by using the associated computer programs to quickly and easily pull up records and add to them after each visit.
Kurt Duncan is the Director of Operations of MedConnectUSA.com. MedConnectUSA is a leading provider in medical telemessaging services and has been serving the healthcare industry since 1991.