Creating Positive Patient Encounters in Today’s New COVID World

Just because we are in a pandemic, medical offices need to be vigilant in making sure patient service is at the forefront of all functions in the practice.
Reminder: A negative review still goes a long way in getting new patients in the door and in keeping loyal patients. 
You might need to train and retrain regularly!
1) Greet patients warmly and sincerely and remember to speak a little louder:
Make sure your staff personalizes each encounter to provide the best patient experience. Remember wearing a mask can create barriers in both directions to a good patient experience.
2) Listen to patients:
It is important to make sure that your patients feel like they are being heard. Many may be more agitated and worried. Any thought, request, or complaint should be responded to with respect and a smile – yes even with a mask on. People can tell by your voice and your facial expressions how you feel about your job. Make the patient feel like a priority at all time. 
3) Use names:
When talking to a patient, always introduce yourself and call patients by their preferred address (Mr., Ms., or Mrs.) This ensures the encounter is more respectful and personable. You can never overuse a patient’s name, this will help make the experience more memorable.
4) Be prepared to help patients:
A patient asks for your help on something. You may be tired or stressed out, but that’s no excuse. The patient is the top priority and your job is to help them. This means you must be familiar with the policies and procedures in the front office. This will allow you to be best prepared to meet the needs of the patients. 
5) Go the extra mile:
Similar to the commandment above, when at the front office you must be prepared to show understanding towards patients whether that be apologizing for the wait, or helping them through registration. Your goal is to make the process as easy as possible and provide any information that could help better the patient experience. 
6) Show respect:
Put yourself in a patient’s shoes. You’re put on hold, sitting there listening to the phone operator music playing on repeat. Once someone finally picks up the phone, you would like to hear a respectful apology. This is key to demonstrating the respect of your company as well as promoting a positive impression. When speaking to patients who have experienced an inconvenience, always apologize, and if need be give a polite explanation. 
7) Make time to de-stress:
When the opportunity arises, for a minute or two to focus on yourself, whether that be stretching or just taking a few deep breaths to help yourself refocus. This will lead to better patient interactions as well as a better work day for you. Keep a memorable photo close to your desk as a mental reminder that the patients that you are working with are someone’s family member too. Stress on the job prevents you from being at your best.
8) Avoid office politics and gossip:
Refrain from starting or getting involved in any type of gossip or office politics, this will just cause a negative work space. At times it can be difficult to avoid these situations, but remember the goals and policies of your company. When at work you are there to focus on the needs of patients and your fellow staff members. And by all means, make sure the patient does not hear any personal conversations. Be sure to check out next week’s blog that goes into depth about how to handle office politics!
9) Be a team member:
While it is important to meet the needs of the patient, it is also just as important to help out your fellow staff members. To do this, you must support your coworkers in all aspects, offer help or suggestions that could improve the quality of performance. This in turn will create a positive work environment built on trust and respect. A quality team member goes above and beyond the call of the job description.
10) Communicate:
We have all heard the saying “communication is key”. Every interaction you have with a patient or a coworker is an opportunity to provide clear and concise information as well as receive it. Good communication is a key element in any successful company. 
These tips are universal for any business, however they are especially important for medical practices as they are built on person-to-person services.