Working in a medical office can be stressful, so it can be easy to let etiquette fall through the cracks. However, practicing proper etiquette is essential to ensuring that patients have an excellent experience in your office, helping you to retain and attract more patients. Here are some of the most effective office etiquette tips to help you and the staff of your medical office remember to stay at the top of your game.
1. Maintain a Professional Appearance
The way you look makes your first impression, so each member of your staff should keep a professional looking appearance at all times. Create and enforce a dress code among staff. This can be as casual or formal as you’d like. What’s most important is that all staff members are clean, tidy, and approachable-looking.
2. Use a Welcoming Greeting
Desk staff should greet patients as soon as they walk in the door. Other staff members should greet patients by name, introduce themselves by name and position, and inform the patient as to what steps and procedures they’ll be going through. Staff should do this even if they are wearing a name tag, which they should be doing at all times.
3. Remember Body Language
Office etiquette is all about impressions. Smile and make eye contact when first greeting a patient, and continue to make eye contact throughout the appointment to assure the patient that they have your full attention. Try not to slouch or fidget, and don’t move suddenly. Make it clear to patients with body words and body cues before you touch them.
4. Keep Patients in the Loop
Your patients want to know what’s going on during their appointment, especially if they’re one of the many people who are made anxious by medical appointments. If patients have to wait for a while, check in with them to ensure that they’re doing well and update them on when they’ll be seen. During the visit, let patients know what you’re doing before you do it, whether it’s taking vital signs, administering an injection, or taking a sample for a test.
5. Build a Rapport
Help put your patient at ease by opening your interaction with some small talk, such as about the weather, a recent holiday, or a major event in your community. This may seem like a waste of time, but helping patients relax into the interaction encourages them to open up to you about the medical problems that they are dealing with, which for some patients can be potentially awkward or embarrassing.
6. Be Present with Your Patients
Simply being in the room with your patients isn’t enough, medical professionals also need to be truly mentally present as well. With all the stresses of working in a medical office, it can also be easy to get distracted while spending time with patients. However, truly listening to the patient makes your patient feel more comfortable about the quality of their care and can also make the difference between a correct and incorrect diagnosis, so keep your focus on the patient, not on the screen of a device or your mental to do list.
7. Don’t Rush Patients
Take the time to allow patients to fully explain the reason for their visit, as well as ask any questions or voice any concerns they have about their treatment. This may extend your appointments a bit longer than you’d like, but it can also save time and improve the quality of the medical care you give by preventing follow ups or problems due to misunderstandings about how the patient should be taking a medication or caring for a health issue.
8. Keep Disagreements between Staff Under Wraps
No one gets along with all of their coworkers, so having disagreements between staff is totally normal and, assuming everyone handles the disagreement in a mature and respectful way, understandable. However, patients should never be able to detect strained relationships between staff members. This can create the appearance that your staff isn’t on the same page and make patients feel uncomfortable at your practice.
9. Make Arrangements for Follow Up
If your patient will need a follow up appointment or consultation at your practice, make sure someone in your office helps them to book that appointment before they leave the office. If patients have to schedule these appointments on their own, they often won’t. Patients that have more significant problems but don’t need a follow up appointment will still appreciate a follow up call. Put this on your calendar and have a staff member call to ensure that the patient is feeling better and getting the care they need.
10. Get Help When You Need It
While office etiquette is important, it’s not the only thing a medical practice needs to meet its potential and thrive while doing so. Whether you’re looking to move medical practices, want to open a new location, need new medical equipment, or have any other issue or concern with your practice, contact Boulevard LA today. With our years of experience in assisting medical offices, both specialty and general, we can help your practice be all it can be.