What drives a great patient experience? Well according to a study of General Practitioners offices, the receptionist has a significant impact on patient satisfaction. How? Let me count the ways…
The survey noted that “helpfulness of the receptionist, along with communication with the doctor, is the most important driver for satisfaction among UK patients.” The research also noted that “The researchers found that practices where more patients had to push conversations forward because of poor communication by receptionists had lower patient satisfaction scores”.
This paints an interesting and far too typical picture of the gatekeeper – those “first impression” individuals in healthcare. Too many react to the question, giving the one standard response. They are taught what to do to move the caller along without thinking about what can be done to remove the patient’s burden of having to determine how to get the best answers or care.
The patient shouldn’t have to drive the conversation, ask all the questions to learn how to navigate the provider’s processes. The staff need to ask enough of the right questions to specifically help or direct the patient to the best course of action.
“In the more effective calls, receptionists made alternative offers and summarised patients’ appointments or confirmed what would happen next.”
The gatekeeper should push the conversation forward instead of expecting the patient to do so themselves.
Make your gatekeepers great at asking questions to best help the patient get their need met right the first time, and watch your patient satisfaction rise.
For information on how to improve patient satisfaction, visit http://cssamerica.com/healthcare/