Do you have patients who are not compliant with your office protocols? Do they skip appointments, forget their paperwork, call the office for routine prescription refills, or pay their bills late? If you have these kinds of patients, it’s time to train them about your office protocols.
In most cases you can greatly increase patient compliance by providing them a brochure about your practice. Make it as easy as possible for patients to know the rules and how your system works. In today’s medical environment, your practice brochure needs to be distributed in multiple media: printed handouts, on your website and on your social sites. This way you can ensure that the patient knows your practice rules.
It starts as early as a patient’s first inquiry to your practice. Your receptionist should be well-trained on screening and welcoming new patients. Patients can hear through the phone whether your receptionist is smiling and nice, or frowning and stressed.
“Welcome to our office please hold” is too frequently their first impression of you. Consider an automated “hold” message instead, with an option to hear a new patient welcome message or website referral for more information and an option to hold for an operator. If callers must be on hold, they might as well become educated during the process, so use message-on-hold instead of music. Give patients a “what’s in it for me” statement that explains what they can do to receive the best care and service.
New patients should be directed to your website to complete patient forms prior to their first visit. This can avoid a considerable delay at reception. Don’t tell patients to come in 15 minutes early for an appointment. Tell them when they need to be there to “begin paperwork”. Remind them to bring their medical aid card and ID to the visit, and to check the practice website for payment, billing, and medical aid information. Some practices tell new patients to bring all prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements bottles too. These kind of information should be included in your practice rules.
Post photos of physicians and staff with their names and positions, in the reception area so new patients will recognize the doctor and know to whom to direct questions about accounts, booking appointments, follow up reports, etc.
Patients leaving an appointment should receive a practice brochure as a reminder of all the basic information: hours, refills, contacts, and emergency procedures. Perfecting your practice brochure can yield a smoother, more efficient practice for you, your staff, and your patients.