Improving Patient Relationships: Patient Care vs. Customer Service

Improving Patient Relationships: Patient Care vs. Customer Service

Sep 13, 2023 | Patient Care, Patient Education

Patient care is the essence of healthcare itself. It embodies the compassion, dedication, and expertise that providers bring to the table. It’s more than just diagnosing symptoms and prescribing treatments; it’s about recognizing the individual behind the ailment.

When a provider prioritizes patient care, they create an atmosphere of trust and empathy. This personalized approach transcends the transactional aspect of healthcare, fostering a deeper connection between the provider and the patient. To achieve exceptional patient care, healthcare professionals may prioritize:

1. Active Listening

Take time to listen to patients’ concerns and stories. Understand their fears, hopes, and expectations. This attentive listening shows patients that their voices are being heard and that their experiences are valid.

During a patient’s appointment, put away distractions and maintain eye contact. Encourage the patient to share their concerns, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings fully. Using affirmative cues, such as “I understand” or “Tell me more,” shows that you are actively engaged in listening and signals to your patient their perspective is valued and respected.

2. Empathy

Navigating health issues can be daunting for patients, and they greatly appreciate healthcare teams who provide an extra level of understanding and care. Empathy not only builds rapport with satisfied patients, but also helps in tailoring treatments to their specific needs.

Imagine a patient arrives at your office feeling anxious about an upcoming procedure. You may have an opportunity pre-procedure to sit down with them, acknowledge their anxiety, and share a similar experience you’ve had in the past. By sharing your own experience, patients know that you genuinely understand their feelings.

The simple act of sharing creates an empathetic connection, easing a patient’s worries and building their trust.

3. Clear Communication

Effective patient communication starts with translating high level medical jargon into understandable language. Explain procedures, treatments, and options you provide with language that is appropriate for their level of medical knowledge. Patients who understand their situation are better equipped to make informed decisions about their health.

When a patient has been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires a complex treatment plan, instead of overwhelming them with medical terminology, prioritize explaining the condition and treatment options using simple language and visual aids. Take the time to answer any questions and ensure that the patient understands. This clear communication empowers the patient to actively participate in their healthcare decisions.

4. Continuity of Care

Optimizing health requires a consistent and coordinated approach to patient support. This means ensuring that the patient’s journey is seamless, from diagnosis to treatment and follow-up appointments.

An example of this includes collaborating with the patient’s primary care physician and other specialists involved in the patient’s care. By coordinating appointments, sharing medical records, and communicating treatment updates, you’ll ensure that the patient receives comprehensive and seamless care throughout their recovery journey.

5. Respect for Individuality

Every patient brings their own values, beliefs, and preferences with them. A patient-centered approach respects their autonomy while guiding them towards the best choices for their health.

Your patient with chronic pain may choose to seek alternative treatment options due to personal preferences. Discuss various approaches including non-pharmacological interventions while respecting their preferences. Take into account their values, cultural background, and lifestyle when suggesting treatment plans. This patient-centered approach not only respects the patient’s autonomy but also helps them feel more comfortable and engaged in their healthcare decisions.

Customer Service: Transactional Excellence

Another important element that runs alongside Patient Care is Customer Service. This is a key feature of running a successful business, though it often implies a more transactional nature than its counterpart. Customer service is all about meeting the needs and expectations of customers efficiently and effectively.

To ensure top-notch service without compromising the patient relationship, healthcare professionals should consider:

  • Streamlined Processes: Minimize administrative hassles for patients wherever you can. There are many tools that can help your practice simplify paperwork, billing procedures, phone calls and appointment scheduling. A smooth process reduces stress on patients and improves their overall experience.
  • Accessibility: Make information, especially details of complicated healthcare topics, readily available. Patients appreciate easy access to educational materials, post-visit instructions, and a platform for addressing queries or concerns.
  • Professionalism: While maintaining a friendly demeanor, encourage your entire team to uphold the professionalism patients appreciate. Courteous behavior, well-organized facilities, and respect for patients’ time all contribute to a positive customer service experience.
  • Technology Integration: Embrace technology to enhance customer service. This might include scheduling appointments online, telehealth options, and online supplement dispensing for seamless communication and accessibility.

Synergy Between Patient Care and Customer Service

While patient care and customer service might seem like distinct concepts, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can work harmoniously to create a well-rounded healthcare experience that truly caters to the patient’s needs. The key is to ensure that the focus on customer service does not overshadow the patient’s individuality and the depth and quality of care they deserve.

Imagine a scenario where a healthcare provider seamlessly integrates both patient care and customer service:

A patient arrives at a chiropractic clinic. The front desk staff greets them with a warm smile and efficiently completes the check-in process. While waiting, the patient notices informational pamphlets about chiropractic care, offering insights into the potential benefits and what to expect during a session.

When the chiropractor enters the room, they take a moment to sit down, introduce themselves, and inquire about the patient’s health history and priorities. The patient feels heard and valued, setting the tone for a collaborative session. Throughout the visit, the chiropractor explains each step, ensuring the patient is comfortable and informed. They save time to address questions the patient has, instilling a sense of trust and understanding.

As the session concludes, the chiropractor discusses a personalized treatment plan, highlighting its potential impact on the patient’s health goals. The patient leaves feeling physically better and confident that their well-being is in capable hands.

In this scenario, patient care and customer service are intertwined seamlessly. The streamlined administrative processes and courteous demeanor reflect excellent customer service, while the practitioner’s personalized attention, empathy, and holistic approach exemplify exceptional patient support. This synergy ensures that patients not only receive the treatment they need but also feel valued and respected throughout their healthcare journey.

Provide Better Patient Care With Uncommonly Good Customer Service

Great customer service should complement the core of healthcare—caring for individuals’ well-being. Doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other practitioners have a unique opportunity to create lasting impacts on patients’ lives by prioritizing strong relationships.

Choosing partners that align with your focus on excellent service ensures continuity of care as well. Doctors Supplement Store works as an extension of your practice doing just that!  Our commitment to Uncommonly Good Customer Service means your patients get the same level of care and respect from us as they get in your office.