Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Improve Patient Care From Front Office to Bedside

The Office Visit

The first point of contact for patients is the front office. People call in to make an appointment and give their insurance information to the person who answers. It is this office employee who is the one giving the first impression of the office and the doctor. This staffer should know be friendly and get any needed information from the caller. They should thank the caller and confirm the appointment time.

Next is the office visit. If you walk in to the office for the first appointment of the day, it should not be full of waiting patients already. There is a reason why some people, like me, ask for the first appointment - we don't or can't spend hours waiting to get in or else we will lose money from our paychecks. Please let us know if the doctor had an emergency and will not return for more than an hour. We will be glad to reschedule. You expect the patients to be courteous and we expect the same from the office staff. It's a human thing.

If outside lab tests are needed, please let the patient know how to make the appointment. Let them know how long it may take for the results to return to you. Give them several test sites. Also, most patients have enough common sense to call the testing center and ask for the results. Chances are the patient will know their results before the doctor does.

The Hospital

It is nerve wracking to be admitted to the hospital for any reason. The admitting process can be long and the paperwork daunting. But once admitted, the wait for a room, to see the doctor, a nurse or get something taken care of can seem to take forever. Patients can be cranky and impatient but that is mostly from nerves. Please recognize that and find a way to ease our fears.

If outpatient surgery is needed, the patient should always check their ID bracelet before putting it on. Once, I was one of two patients waiting to be admitted to outpatient surgery only to find the ID bracelet given to me was for the other person.

Most healthcare workers are patient, kind and have a good bedside manor to ease concerns. This is appreciated. Patients and healthcare staff are partners in the fight for a healthy you. Everyone has to work together in order for the better. Patients must arrive early or on time for their appointments and staff must be more congenial and communicative for the patient-to-doctor relationship to be beneficial.

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