Making the First Impression to Patients Part Two

Donna White

Donna White

By Donna White, Principal Consultant and Owner of Legacy Consulting Services and Legacy Billing Solutions in Montgomery, Alabama.

In the second half of our First Impression series, we will cover your actual office. If you missed the first half, click here. From location to dress code, everything gives your patients an impression about your practice.

The Office

Patients should not have trouble finding you. If you are not a stand-alone building, make sure there is adequate signage for patients to be able to find your office and your front door. All of those home shows have it right – curb appeal is critical. Is the landscaping around your office neat? Is the entrance to the office clutter-free? Do what you can within the confines of your lease to ensure patients feel welcome before they enter the office.

Do you have a policy and procedure in place for your front desk to greet patients as they come in? You should! There should always be someone at the front desk to greet the patient at sign in and provide them direction on next steps, be it paperwork or just signing in and having a seat.

Regarding seating, re-think your waiting room. In fact, discontinue using the term “waiting room.” The name alone places an emphasis on waiting – not something you want your patient to do. Think of it instead as your reception area. Make sure your reception area is well lit, has an accommodating flow and comfortable seating. Is a coffee table necessary to the area? Could it be a hazard to any mobility challenged patients? Also, consider chairs with arms for your waiting room as some patients may need that boost to get up from their seat.

Your phones should always be manned during business hours. Staggered lunches can ensure someone is available to cover the reception area and phones throughout the day. Many patients may only have their lunch break to call to make their appointment, and nothing is more frustrating than calling any office to roll straight to a voice mail saying you are closed for lunch and to call back during business hours.

Lastly, staffing. Does the clinical staff have a sense of urgency in seeing each patient? Does the provider? Many lessons are learned from the top down. Most staff will follow their provider’s lead.

Does your office have a dress code? Is it being followed? Ensure staff are dressed according to your office standards and any staff not in scrubs are at least in business casual attire.

They may seem like small things, but everyone is influenced by aesthetics. Your practice’s aesthetic should be pleasing to both staff and patients alike.

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