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“Doctor’s Office, Please Hold”–Is This Patient Care?


Patients want care. They want to feel better. Most people who go to a doctor’s office have a medical malady and they are usually scared.

Going to the doctor to find out what’s wrong can be very frightening. Many of us have experienced that, entering the doctor’s office with trepidation and hoping for a nice face on the other side of the that sliding glass window to greet us with care and with pleasantness. We are so desperate for someone who’s in a good mood, that we even fake a smile through our own anxiety in hopes of eliciting a grin from the would-be assailant. For if not, this person could pose the biggest barrier between our fear and something even more powerful: hope.

“May I help you?” the lady asks in an annoyed voice.
“Yes, I’m here to see Dr. Such-and-Such.”
“OK…fill this out, give me your driver’s license and insurance card and just have a seat.”

Routine. Cold. Where’s the care? Where’s the eye-to-eye contact? Where’s the welcome?

A dismissive medical receptionist leaves patients feeling a lack of care. This is NOT the case at Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, Michigan.

A dismissive medical receptionist leaves patients feeling a lack of care. This is NOT the case at Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, Michigan.

Where’s the compassion? Plus, I could have chosen to go anywhere….to 3 or 4 other doctors who do the exact same thing!

The first person you talk to at a doctor’s office is the ambassador and the “face” for that entire office and how patients will perceive it. This includes the person who answers the first phone call to the office (if you’re lucky enough to get a human) and the people who work in that office.

I could imagine the scene above playing out in a hundred other ways, ways that show care. How about this?

“Hi, Mr. B. I see you have an appointment with Dr. Such and Such today. I see from our notes that you are having your leg looked at. How is your leg feeling?”
“Oh, not so great, in fact, it’s red and swollen. I’m in a lot of pain and I’m really scared because it hasn’t let up since last Friday.”
“Not to worry, Mr. B. Dr. Such and Such has seen this a thousand times and I’m confident he can help you. Many patients have come in with leg pain and we are almost always able to find the root cause. May I make you a cup of coffee while you fill out a few forms?”

There it is: CARE! Care from someone on the inside. Care from someone who has more information than I. Hope that I could feel better. Simple humanness that goes missing in many doctors’ offices that could easily get turned around with just a little extension of someone’s kindness.

Patient care means not leaving you on hold indefinitetly at Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, Michigan

Patient care means not leaving you on hold indefinitely at Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, Michigan

And it all begins with that very first phone call: “Dr. Such and Such’s office, please hold.” Dismissed. Tossed aside. Like a nobody. Followed by the awful music that plays through the earpiece, letting us know we could possibly be stuck in “hold hell” forever. Where’s the care?

Patient care has everything to do with empathy. If the front-line people would just put themselves in our shoes, they would automatically give the kind of care that only comes with true feeling. It would come because they, too, have been sick and scared and have wanted the same thing when it was their turn: care.

Care is what you’ll find at Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine. It’s all we know.

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