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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Home Healthcare Patient Engagement How Patient Complaints Can Help Your Medical Practice Grow

How Patient Complaints Can Help Your Medical Practice Grow

By Claudio Varga, Director of Operations, Vital Urgent Care, Inc

Let’s face it, no one wants to hear negative criticism. We would all like to think we are doing a great job at any task we are faced with.

But deep down, many of us realize that any feedback we are getting can help us grow. After all, if one person is pointing out that there are elements you can improve on, it’s likely that there are others that feel the same. Instead of becoming defensive, it’s important to take what they are saying to heart so you can do better in the future.

Learning from feedback is especially important in the medical industry. When dealing with a person’s health, it’s important for providers to treat patients with the care and sensitivity they need and deserve. This article will provide tips on how you can use patient complaints to improve and grow your practice.

The Situation

Excessive waiting is a common patient complaint. Many patients come into a doctor’s office to find tons of people ahead of them and it could take hours until they are actually escorted into a room. Then it seems as if they are waiting twice as long until the doctor actually comes in. And who knows how long they had to wait just to get an appointment!

When things like this happen and a patient complains, a staff member may express sympathy, smile and nod, but are steps actually being taken to alleviate this problem?

Instead of noting the patient complaint and doing nothing about it, the staff should be working on a more organized system. This will make for happier patients who are more likely to continue using your services.

How Patient Complaints Can Benefit a Company

Now let’s take a look at some ways patient complaints can benefit a practice.

They Build Loyalty: If you take the time to correct a problem, you will end up with happier patients that will use your services again and again. To further promote loyalty, call patients who made complaints and tell them about the steps you took to improve your service and make it more convenient. You are sure to see them coming back.

They Help You Stand Out from the Competition: Let’s take a look at the problem with excessive waits. This is an issue a lot of medical offices have. If your office takes the time to speed up appointments, you will stand out from the competition so your office will be the one patients choose. Pair this with other terrific services and you will end up at the top of your industry.

You Will Have Happier Employees: No employee looks forward to coming into an office where they have to constantly deal with complaining customers. When you make improvements, you limit patient complaints in the future. This results in happier employees that are more productive and more likely to stay with your company for the long haul.

You’ll See More Customers Coming Through Your Door: If you treat every complaint as an opportunity to improve, you will see more old customers returning, and you’ll also see more new customers coming through the door. You will build a reputation as a provider that offers excellent service and care, and this will result in a larger patient base.

You’ll Have Better Customer Reviews: In this technologically based world, online reviews are so important. If you are getting patient complaints and keep ignoring them, they may end up on the internet where they can permanently damage your reputation. On the other hand, if you deal with problems as they arise, you will have better online reviews and fewer negative comments on your profiles.

How to Deal with Customer Complaints

When patients make complaints, you can smile and nod, you can tell a colleague and hope they will do something about it, or you can use it as an opportunity to make a change. Here are some steps you will want to take to ensure improvements are made.

Assure the Patient You Will Be Taking Action: When a patient makes a complaint, never get upset. Instead, get as much information from them as possible as far as why they are unhappy with your services. Then assure them you will be taking action. They will be glad you took the time to listen.

Write It Down: It’s advisable to write down all patient complaints and tell your team members to do the same. This way you will have all the details you need when it comes to discussing them with your colleagues.

Bring Complaints Up at Meetings: Staff meetings are the perfect time to talk about patient complaints. Refer to your notes to tell your co-workers what happened and come prepared with possible solutions. This will ensure that you are taking the steps you need to take to improve.

Seek Out Feedback

You may think that patient complaints are an annoyance, but they are actually a gift.

When a patient tells you there is something wrong, they are giving you a chance to get better so you can take your practice to the next level. It is preferrable to them walking out and never coming back without saying a word.

Because complaints are so valuable, you should give patients a chance to provide you with feedback by leaving forms around your office. Motivate them to fill out these forms by offering discounted services or coupons and specials from neighboring businesses. Then you will have the information you need to take your practice to the next level.

It’s natural to become defensive when someone complains about your services, but it’s important not to take it personally. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to grow and improve your practice so you can bring more patients in the door. Good luck making your medical business thrive.

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