Advanced skills in patient communication: the new patient and the patient undecided
In your practice, just like in life, you see and experience an incredible number of personalities, some easier to deal with than others. To be successful in a practice, it is essential to know how to work with all of the personality types that you encounter.
Given the importance of effective communication between doctor and patient, we will address several of the most common patient types in a multi-part series. The first part will cover the new patient and the undecided patient, as well as best practices for navigating the three main stages of each patient’s experience.
The new patient
Regarding the new patient, it is important to remember that this is his first interaction with your practice and that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So think about how you would like your practice to be described for this newcomer and make sure that their experience matches that of the brand you want to describe.
Before coming to the office, greet them correctly by their first name or the appropriate title (Mme / M. / Mme / M. / Dr, etc.) when they call and / or contact you in line. If they introduce themselves to you by their first name, ask permission to call them by their first name.
If you telephone, collect the spelling of the first and last name of the caller, along with their telephone number and email address, and repeat it to them. This not only allows you to stay in touch with them on multiple platforms throughout the patient journey, but also allows you to refer to the patient by name during your phone call.
When a new manager enters practice, contact them as soon as possible. If you leave this information in your inbox or voicemail, they will inevitably be transferred to another office … one who wanted them patient enough to call them back before you.
Once they are in the office, ask your receptionist to stand up to greet them as soon as they enter the door. Treat this new patient like the king or queen they are!
Offer them a drink while filling out the admission documents. A cup of hot tea on a cool day or a bottle of cold water (with your logo) in the middle of summer helps a patient feel very welcome.
Make sure your reception area is full of brand marketing opportunities, from a video monitor with a personalized loop to before-and-after photo books and brochures created especially for your practice. All of these details help this new patient make the decision to be treated by you.
When this patient is ready to enter the examination room, improve your brand by bringing a member of your team to the reception area, greet him, welcome him back to the office and direct him personally to the treatment room.
Once in the treatment room, make sure you have as much information as possible about them. Are they seeking their non-surgical treatment today? Is this their first surgical consultation? Is anyone else involved in the decision? If this is the case, their presence for the consultation is ideal.
After the consultation, direct the patient to the door and thank him for sharing part of his day with your team. Make the patient feel special.
Remember that follow-up is essential, so be sure to stay in touch with them. Put your patient in a drip campaign where you will continue to communicate with them throughout their decision-making process – from call to consultation, from consultation to treatment and from treatment to reprocessing.
The patient undecided
While this progression seems fairly easy, how do you work with a patient apparently undecided as to the continuation of his procedure?
Start by establishing why they are undecided and continue.
Are they badly informed about the procedure itself? Often, a patient has researched the Internet before presenting you for the first time, which means that they already have a lot of information about your practice. However, this is your chance to give them all of the correct information in pieces that they are able to digest. Remember not to speak above their heads.
Do they have anyone else involved in the decision-making process? We recommend that your patient care coordinator ask for all new surgical consultations if someone else is involved in the process, such as a parent or spouse. Then suggest that this person also come to the consultation. It will be easier for them to make the decision together when they both hear the same information.
Are they everywhere with what they want? Did they come for neurotoxin treatment and are they now thinking about a tummy tuck? Be sure to limit the patient’s primary budget and concerns, as well as their secondary concerns. We find that having