Medical Office Bootcamp: Back To Basics
My left eye vision has been a bit blurry for some time so I decide to go to a new ophthalmologist, hopeful to get some answers. This doctor has come highly recommended from another doctor as a result of my refusal to accept my current ophthalmologist’s diagnosis: that I have a sudden onset of allergies and that using eye drops should clear everything up–(no pun intended!) I used the drops for about a week and since nothing changed, I decided to get a second opinion.
So I walk into the new doctor’s medical office, surprised by the 60 degree temperature that hit me as the heavy, glass door swung shut. My eyes quickly scanned the waiting room, hopeful for a blanket or a small, furry animal to keep me warm. Relegated with only my folded arms across my chest, I approached the window. You know the one. The one that separates “us” from them. The one that feels like the former wall between East and West Germany. The one that tells you that they are powerful and you are not.
“Hi. My name is Mindy and I have an appointment with Dr. Such-and-Such at noon.” What happens at this point is uncertain; she could be very pleasant, which is of course what I am hoping for, or she could behave like some unseemly character from the movie “Pyscho.”
“Ok, I need your driver’s license and insurance card…and here, fill out these forms and bring them back to me,” she says in a monotone voice with an expressionless face. She wasn’t pleasant and she wasn’t curt, but she certainly wasn’t winning any personality contests.
So that’s my first impression of this medical office, besides the arctic temperature in which I am shivering.
This is the kind of medical office that is a perfect candidate for “Medical Office Bootcamp.” I envision Medical Office Bootcamp as a Back To Basics course that has little to do with medical care and everything to do with real care. How about a smile? How about a “thank you” for visiting the office? How about some care and concern beyond just doing a bare-bones job?
Imagine it going something like this: “Hi, Ms. Ruben…or may I call you ‘Mindy?’ I see that you are here to see Dr. Such-and-Such for your blurry vision. How are you feeling? Is your left eye still blurry? Oh, that’s too bad. You should know that we see a lot of people here with the same problem and Dr. Such and Such is an expert at fixing it! We feel confident that you will feel better soon. Just fill out these forms and we’ll get you going.”
Now, if I owned this doctor’s office, this is what I would want my receptionist to say. It would give me hope, it would give me a little reassurance, and it would give me an actual human being on the other side with whom I could interact. Otherwise, I feel like I’m speaking to a faceless android.
And while we’re on the topic….don’t you just hate it when the forms are repetitive? I mean, HOW MANY TIMES must I print my name, address, and insurance information? Can’t someone in the office coordinate the forms so that each question is only asked once? It starts to bring into question the office’s professionalism or worse, their work efficiency. If somebody can’t take the time to manage the forms and present them in a concise fashion instead of placing the burden on the patient to simply re-print the same information, what does that say about the efficiency of this office? And what might this mean for the organization of papers that really matter down the road like blood tests, scans and such?
Week Two of Medical Office Bootcamp might involve improved interaction once I am ushered back to a room. After the usual blood pressure and temperature routine, it would be nice if the medical assistant said something other than “Dr. Such and Such will be with you shortly.” How about “Dr. Such and Such is currently with a patient. There are 2 people ahead of you and you will probably be waiting approximately 15 more minutes until he comes in.”
And… (this would be Week Three) “Would you like a cup of coffee or something to snack on while you are waiting?”
Bingo! Hospitality! Who doesn’t like a snack? And having the information on how long you might be stuck in Medical Room Hell would be incredibly important so that you could more efficiently plan the rest of your day!
That’s what I’m talking about. And it really is simple, basic stuff. Basic human to human interaction. Treating others as you would want to be treated. Talking on the same level. Treating the patient as you would treat a friend or better yet…a family member.
So this would be Week Four or….how we treat EVERY patient at Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine. Because we want you to know that we care. We AREN’T on the other side. In fact, there IS no other side…we don’t even have a window! Our receptionist is easily seen and accessible the moment you enter our office: no glass window, no barrier, nothing. Just a friendly, smiley face ready to help you.
So the next time you experience another doctor’s office, think about whether or not they have taken the Bootcamp Course. And if not, head over to 2300 Haggerty Road Suite 1190, West Bloomfield, MI 48323 and feel rest assured that we have not only taken the course, but we have passed it, too.
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