It’s All in the Anticipation!
I love hosting guests in my home! I’m not Martha Stewart, but I like to think of myself as a gracious hostess who makes her friends and family feel welcomed and appreciated when they come for a visit. Making someone feel welcomed is all in the details and how you can prepare for and anticipate their needs and wants. Little things, like having a house key for your guests, supplying the fridge with some of their favorite treats, fresh flowers in their room, and emptying drawers to accommodate their clothes are some of the ways I let my guests know that I thought about them ahead of time and was ready to make their visit run smoothly. The most common comment I get from my guests is, “Wow, you sure know how to make us feel special!”
Don’t you think patients should feel the same way when they pay a visit to their Health Home (i.e. their health care provider)? Many times, patients feel just the opposite. We’ve all been patients at one time or another so it’s easy to relate to what our patients feel. Have you ever felt like your appointment with your doctor was a total surprise to them? Or maybe you felt like you were an inconvenience in their busy day. Maybe it was your chart the office couldn’t find, or your lab work your doctor hadn’t yet reviewed, or maybe they didn’t even remember why you were coming in. That didn’t feel very good, did it? Not only did you not feel “special” like my houseguests do, but it might have even made you wonder about the doctors attention to detail and therefore the quality of care you were receiving.
While looking unprepared and disorganized looks awful to patients, being unprepared and disorganized doesn’t feel good to the clinic staff either. With a little organization, anticipation, and a lot of communication, a provider and his/her patient care team can put an end to those “surprises” that always seem to catch them off guard and the chaos that follows as they scramble to find a solution.
Prepping for the Day
When taking on any project (whether it’s hosting a party or seeing patients in your clinic) it’s always helpful to remember the 5 P’s.
The 5 P’s stands for Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance
The 5 P’s stands for “Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance,” and is a great reminder that if we want to have a great performance, be successful and produce stellar results, we must invest the time and effort to plan and prepare. In terms of preparing to see patients in your clinic, what does perfect planning and preparation entail? At a minimum, it entails chart preparation and review, a robust appointment confirmation call and a great Patient Care Team Huddle.
Chart preparation, robust confirmation calls, and regular team huddles can put you ahead of the curve and help you stay ahead.
So, who has the time to do all of this preparation, calls, and huddling, you ask? Well, successful clinics don’t have any more hours in their day than non-successful clinics. It’s all about the attitude and the determination to take control of the day (and one’s sanity) by being proactive. Take the time to get ahead on preparing for your patients’ appointments. One day, decide to start and prepare both today’s charts and tomorrow’s work today. One day, decide to start calling your patients, not only to remind them of their appointments but also to get additional information from them that might help you anticipate their needs. One day, decide to make team huddles a regular part of your clinic day to put you and your team ahead of the curve and stay ahead.
Then stand back as you awe and impress your patients with your exceptional preparedness, focused attentiveness, and seamless teamwork. Your patients will feel welcomed and taken care of just like guests feel when staying at the home of a gracious host.