Examining, treating and caring for patients can become more involved with the increase in time-consuming detractors such as ICD-10 implementation, meaningful use requirements, and changing reimbursement, just to name a few.
Most, if not all, people don’t become doctors to do paperwork, or fulfill regulatory requirements. They want to practice medicine. Read more here about that: KevinMD.com. Yet many doctors have fallen into the trap of working for the next piece of cheese. They have begun working for the regulators, not who they started out intending to serve: patients.
Noteworthy: Treating patients doesn’t begin when the patient and doctor begin the visit, nor does it end there.
Providing proper care occurs when the patient engages your office. The initial phone call to make an appointment or seek the advice of how a condition should be handled is the start of providing care for that patient. Your patient is checking in, checking out, scheduling a return visit, paying the correct copay are also part of providing care for that patient.
As the treating physician, the seeming routine diagnosis doesn’t require your attention, as much as the less familiar new ICD-10 code. Yet to that patient, the diagnosis is nothing close to routine. They might not understand the diagnosis, or may be totally unaware of the importance of coding their visit correctly so they don’t receive a large unnecessary bill.
The shift in focus from the patient to the computer or the chart is not what your patient wants, just as much as you don’t want it. You didn’t go into medicine to write down codes and the patient doesn’t want you to focus on that either.
Successful businesses provide successful customer service.
Since this is a medical blog our customer is the patient. And like it not, medicine is a business. Providing good patient care requires a patient-focused work environment.
This process starts with the initial phone call when the patient is greeted with a smile on the phone. Four out of five people can tell if the person on the other end of the phone call is smiling. Human can associate 16 different tones of voices just by listening with no visual input.
Taking the time to listen to the patient’s problem or request will increase your chances of better serving their needs. And your Mom taught you the “magic words”, please and thank you, use them.
The above should apply from start to finish. You didn’t go into medicine to provide good statistics; you went into medicine to provide good “customer service”.