Six Ways to make your Patients Happier

While running a busy medical office, it can be easy to forget that patients are the heart of our practice. Keeping patients happy and smiling should be the number one focus of any medical office. Happy patients are good for your bottom line and your soul. Patients who leave your office happy are more likely to return, more likely to recommend you and more likely to leave positive reviews. Just like a happy staff, happy patients can be infectious, and create a cheerful and positive atmosphere in your office. Here are six ways you and your staff can make your patients happier.

Offer a Smile.

A little smile goes a long way. Everyone has bad days, especially if they aren’t feeling well. Ensure everyone on staff has a smile to offer, even to those who show up grouchy- they often need a smile the most. A smile shows your patients that you are happy to see them. Patients are the core of your practice so express to them that you are glad they are there. Make them feel welcome and let them know that they are appreciated.

Be on time.

Having to wait to be seen is often a patient’s number one complaint. Show your patients you respect them and their time by sticking to your schedule.

Address patients by name.

Making the small effort to remember patients and call them by name will make them feel important and acknowledged. This little detail makes patients feel appreciated and helps your practice build important connections and relationships.

Make time for small talk.

Even though it’s important to be on time, it is also essential to make sure patients don’t feel rushed. Take the time to chat with your patients and make them feel heard. If they have questions or feel confused about a diagnosis or their health, take a minute to truly listen and answer questions.

Know how to handle disputes.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to make everyone happy all the time, and complaints are bound to happen within the medical field. Unhappy patients come with the territory and while you cannot eliminate potential issues completely, you can ensure your staff knows how to handle them. Make sure they feel heard, acknowledge their feelings, ask important questions and take action.

Give your waiting room some TLC.

For many patients, waiting rooms are a part of life. Adding simple and inexpensive details can make patients feel comfortable and peaceful rather than anxious and frustrated. With a small investment and a bit of creativity, you can make your waiting room a pleasant and positive place for your patients. You can easily give your office a pleasantly professional waiting room makeover without breaking your budget.

These simple and positive changes within your practice have the potential to really boost your practice, not only financially but mentally as well. Things like smiling, respect and making patients feel important come at no cost, and it will create a mutual appreciation among you, your staff and your patients.

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
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