In private practice, informed consent is more than just a piece of paper that your patients sign on their first visit—you should build it into every interaction.
Customer service isn’t all about providing perks that your private practice patients will like better than perks provided by the competition. It isn’t even limited to focusing on the quality of the provider-patient relationship.
Sometimes excellent customer service is about making sure you are giving your patients the information they need, every step of the way. You can think of this as making informed consent a priority in your private practice.
What does this look like? Let’s break it down into the basics.
Train your staff, and yourself, to provide a running narrative of what is happening now and what will happen next. Patients need to know the name and role of the staff they are talking with right now, along with the duration of the procedure or interaction. This works equally well for taking x-rays or for scheduling a new appointment. Likewise, make sure that phone interactions are given the same quality of attention and information.
Always provide an accurate estimate of time. (If you’re running an efficient private practice with great systems in place, this won’t be a problem.) As a courtesy, let patients know when the schedule falls behind, whether they are in the waiting area or already in an exam room—or go a step beyond and contact upcoming appointments to give them the option of arriving later or rescheduling.
Don’t leave patients hanging after the provider visit. Give them a specific plan or recommendation about what to do next. Make sure that your staff follows up appropriately after the visit.
An informed patient is an empowered patient, and when your private practice patients feel empowered by you, they’ll come back again and again.
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