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How to overcome the biggest bottleneck in the doctor's clinic


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What every doctor needs to do to delight his patients

Published in: Health & Medicine
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How to overcome the biggest bottleneck in the doctor's clinic

  1. 1. Difficult relatives Angry patients Lazy staff Untrained nurses IT officer Spouse
  2. 2. Try to do too much. Overbook patients, run from clinic to clinic, always late Rude to patients Shout at staff and micromanage. Do not delegate Waste time talking to MRs Undisciplined and disorganised
  3. 3. You are the problem - which means you are also the solution ! You need to get out of your own way and stop hurting yourself
  4. 4. • Only 1 of 20 unhappy patients bother to complain. • Others walk out of your clinic and tell ten others about their bad experience.
  5. 5. You are the most valuable resource in your clinic You are the bottle neck in your clinic
  6. 6. Problems have become worse Smartphone - expected to be on call 24/7 Our time is not our own - doctors live chaotic lives Daily wage earners No work life balance Burnout !
  7. 7. Set priorities Delegate responsibility Say NO ! Organise your work area Don’t waste time !
  8. 8. Do it now Do it soon Put off until later Doesn't need to be done
  9. 9. You are the bottle neck in your clinic – and the most highly paid resource What can you get someone else to do ? Create clear SOPs with a due date Remember there is a learning curve – be patient and follow up Don’t dump your work on an assistant!
  10. 10. Doctoring time = doing valuable clinical work. When you are in flow = in the Operation Theater Delegate-able time Downtime = wasted time. Causes frustration
  11. 11. Time lost while waiting for meetings; patients; and while commuting. Reclaim this time ! Read medical journals on your smartphone Listen to CME podcasts Multitasking !
  12. 12. Staffing issues ( insufficient, unreliable, unproductive staff) Emergencies (unexpected complications) Scheduling problems (overbooking) The heartsink patient – long list of complaints and inquiries Like making patients wait !
  13. 13. Brainstorm about the ways that time is wasted Come up with strategies to reduce these inefficiencies
  14. 14. The consultation is free if you are more than 60 min late
  15. 15. Convenience ? Cost ? Clinic ambience ? Reputation ? Justdial ? Practo ? Google ? Referral ? Parking availability ?
  16. 16. Not your perception – the patient’s perception Life is not always fair.Not all busy doctors are good – and not all good doctors are busy No point in complaining about this. Learn to accept reality ! Soft skills are often more important than clinical skills
  17. 17. Underpaid Not respected Overworked Get flak from doctor and patients No training provided No infrastructure for better customer service
  18. 18. I. The patient is never an Interruption - the patient is your work. Everything else can wait ! II. Greet every patient with a smile. III. Call patients by their name. IV. For patients, all staff members are as important as the doctor ! V. Never argue with a patient. Be a
  19. 19. VI. Don’t say, "I don't know.” Say “ I will find out”. VII. The patient pays your salary - treat him like your boss ! VIII. Choose positive words IX. Always go the extra mile. Exceeding patient expectations is the best way of keeping patients happy ! X. Brighten every patient's day. This will make your own life happier.
  20. 20. • Follow flowcharts for improving workflow! • Need processes which your staff can follow How to answer the phone How to greet a new patient How to help them fill up a form Doctors usually create bottlenecks !
  21. 21. No interruptions when you are with a patient No phone calls during clinic hours Return all calls at a fixed time Intelligent phone systems for recording all calls. Cloud based virtual receptionist I prefer email – no phone tag
  22. 22. •Reminder SMSes to reduce “noshows” •Prescribe apps to your patients •Set up whatsapp groups •Ezines
  23. 23. This does not mean that there are no problems or that all your patients are happy with you The truth is that most patients are scared to complain and will not tell you they are unhappy to your face
  24. 24. How many of your patients refer their friends to you ?
  25. 25. “The patient will never care how much you know, until they know how much you care !”
  26. 26. Medical training is arduous and kills our humanity. Sleep deprivation and fatigue means residents are overburdened Juniors are treated badly, and they in turn treat their patients badly No good role models Poor , illiterate patients are scared and will not speak up
  27. 27. E - Eye contact M - Muscles of Facial Expression P – Posture A - Affect T - Tone of Voice, Touch H - Hearing the whole person Y - Your response
  28. 28. There will be slips and lapses Master the art of service recovery Take ownership of the problem – it’s your clinic ! Don’t abandon the patient !
  29. 29. • R = Re-establish rapport ( empathy) • A = Agreement ( get the patient to say Yes) • P = Problem ( define this) • S = Solution • A = Ask Permission ( is the patient happy with the solution you have offered ?) • N = Next step ( Follow up) • D = Document
  30. 30. Doctor did not explain properly Not enough time with the doctor Unnecessary long wait time Rude staff Overcharging Poor documentation
  31. 31. Learn to give a second opinion tactfully Highlight all the correct things the earlier doctor has done Don’t play the game of oneupmanship
  32. 32.  Anatomy  Hardware  Software – Human resources  Physiology  Pathology  Diagnosis  Patient feedback  Learn from other doctors  Treatment  Staff  Consultant
  33. 33. Treat all patients as VIPs. Respect them ! The lifetime value of a patient