Brian Tsang, MD, FACEP, president, First Physician Corp., and medical director of the emergency department at Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River, Mass., recommends the following tips for improving patient satisfaction while maintaining strong productivity.
Make human connections quickly. This ability comes naturally for some people, but for others, humor, touch, and conversation about non-medical topics can be helpful.
Identify the patient’s true concerns before ordering low-yield defensive tests. Often the patient’s fears are not what you assume and can be alleviated simply by education. Many patients will be happy to be discharged without testing.
Pay attention to details that don’t affect medical care but impact patients’ lives. Examples are calling in prescriptions and notifying the family early of your intent to admit so they can go home.
Communicate with the family as much as, or more than, you do with the patient. Family members will remember your efforts better and will probably fill out the survey.
Perform simple kindnesses like bringing blankets, water, and food. A physician who is not above doing these things is still a rarity, and patients will not forget these gestures.