Rude staff can damage the patient experience

By Aine Cryts

Something is seriously wrong when a patient is made to feel like a recruit in military basic training being shouted at by a drill sergeant, writes George Korda, a Knoxville News Sentinel columnist. That was his feeling after an encounter during a recent doctor's visit with the office receptionist who yelled out his name despite the fact he was the only person in the waiting room.

Too many healthcare workers learn their customer service skills "from the University of the Abrupt that offers a major in brusque with a minor in terse," according to Korda's column. He recalled his first visit at another doctor's office where he was greeted with a command from the young woman behind the desk. "Last name," she said, without a smile or a please.

"Healthcare workers have a tough job, and a good many work at being kind as well as professional. Nevertheless, some don't, but we're us, and we count on them," he writes. "Courtesy and respect in the process, though costing nothing, are a significant investment in the bank of good will."

Physicians who want to see good patient satisfaction scores need to ensure that they and their staff don't treat patients rudely, Korda says. Here are some tips from previous FiercePracticeManagement reporting on creating a better experience for patients in your practice:

  • Recognize and celebrate team members who provide especially compassionate care
  • Hire compassionate employees and provide empathy training to current staff
  • Give doctors in the practice feedback from their patients on a quarterly basis to help them improve their bedside manner
  • Prioritize the needs of employees by offering mindfulness training programs, expressive therapy and weekly wellness conferences

To learn more:
- read the column