One of my patients gave me a great gift today, a complaint. So I got to put some of my own advice about handling patient complaints into effect.
According to my patient, he 1) expected to spend time with me, not with the resident I supervise; 2) didn’t like the way I spoke to the resident and student, rather than to the him; and 3) didn’t like the way our staff looked at the computer rather than the patients during the check in process.
Obviously, even at my age, I still have a lot to learn.
Did the comments strike a nerve? Of course! But the fact is, I appreciate that this patient took the time to provide me with that kind of feedback. It will help me do a better job in the future.
Will I still talk to residents and students? Yes, but I will get the patient’s permission first. Will our staff still need to look at the computer while entering patient data? Yes, but they can offer an explanation to the patient before they do so. Will I send a personal apology/thank you note to the patient?
Absolutely, because good customer service is just as important in health care as it is in any service industry.