Welcome With A Wow

By Mark Riffey

I’m guessing that when you visit a doctor’s office for the first time, the experience is identical to most other first visits to most other doctors.

You get a clipboard of paper to fill out, since they don’t know you from Adam – even though you have an appointment.

The forms usually require that filling out the same contact, insurance and referral info over and over again because the office’s intake process that hasn’t been examined for efficiency, functionality or intelligence. In many cases, the forms are copies of copies of copies as if the original is in Jimmy Hoffa’s pocket.

Where’s the Wow?

Intake Process?
When you enter a doctor’s office, you go through their “intake process”. Maybe if they called it “New Patient Welcome”, it might become a more patient-friendly, efficient, intelligent process.

You’ll find a similar situation when being “welcomed” to many service businesses that haven’t gone to the trouble to transform their “first impression process” from the lowest common denominator to “welcoming, efficient (cheaper, more accurate, time-saving) and intelligent”.

What really stands out is the process at a business that has studied what they do, why they do it and made (often minor) changes to streamline the process.

Some offices, usually those of orthodontists or chiropractors, offer a completely different front office patient experience. Why? The “practice management” (PM) industry is better at getting into those offices.

These firms specialize in making welcoming, efficient, intelligent and profitable WOWs happen.

Medical office managers could learn a thing or twenty simply by making a friend of a local chiro or orthodontist and sitting in their reception area.

Yes, I said a doctor’s office and a chiropractor’s office. Dogs and cats figure it out, so can you.

Don’t be the LCD
If you are going to stand out, you have to do things differently better and *constantly* be on the lookout for ways to improve. Not just the care/service you deliver, but how you deliver it.

While I realize there are legal hoops to deal with, there’s no reason why I should have to fill out forms that contain contact, emergency, insurance and which doctor’s office referred me after the referring doctor made the appointment for me.

Likewise, writing that info multiple times on different pieces of paper. I’m not talking about putting a chip in my head. I’m talking about creating efficiency within the bounds of the law.

After the initial paperfest, the doc used a $30K tablet pc (to create the surgery order) that didn’t (yet) communicate directly with the hospital. Frustration = filling out a form on a tablet pc, printing it out and walking it across the street where someone will scan it and/or re-type the info yet another time. Can you say increased health care costs?

How to Fix It
Have you walked through your business’ intake process and experienced what your patients (clients) deal with? Even if you change oil in 19 minutes or less, you still have an intake process.

Businesses still do things for reasons that no longer exist (fax quality, for example). It’s a conversation we shouldn’t need to have.

Try this process to fix yours:

Note: The experience AFTER intake was just about flawless. Think about what the intake might impact.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him via email at mriffey at flatheadbeacon.com.