Happy Patients #guestpost


imagesCAUP3U1DThe guest post today is from someone I don’t personally know, but with her permission I would like to share it with you, and to stress how important it is to keep patients informed when the Doctor or Nurse is running late. Quite often patients are not annoyed at the delay in their appointments, it the “not knowing and lack of communication” that can quite often bring on frustration and anger.

By informing the patients that there is a delay you are taking away a possible frustrated patient coming to the desk demanding to know what is happening when their appoitment times has come and gone – it then too late the damage is  already done – the patient is angry and you as the Receptionist is more than likely to get the brunt of it.

Guest post:

“I had a Hospital apt today at Aintree Hospital here in Liverpool mum came with me, the clinic was running late. Billy the senior HCA was rushing around everywhere making sure everyone was ok and informed us all of the delay “no wonder he’s so thin he never stands still” mum commented. We went through from 1 waiting room to another and was again informed of the delay that there were 3 doctors on and were doing their best. Around 10 minutes later mum started nattering to the lady sat next to her, the lady said “there is a delay my apt was at 10:30am” mum “it is what it is, where would we be without our NHS”. No amount of waiting time is a problem for me or my mum if it means we keep our NHS, I am NHS staff myself and I love our care system its the best in the world and we should all fight to keep it. The poor doctor I saw had a packet of biscuits on his desk to keep him going, clearly working through his lunch”

 

I have previously written a post on keeping patients informed:

When The Doctor/Nurse is running late. http://t.co/Tlnpi4OD

 

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My Experiences with Dr’s Receptionists in Dubai #GuestPost #2/2


I would like to share the second post from a friend. The first post was her experiences with the healthcare system when she was living in South Africa.

She had now moved to Dubai and shares her experiences with the healthcare system there, and how helpful she finds the Receptionist.

Thank you for sharing your experiences……………….

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Visiting the Doctor in Dubai

A new medical aid scheme this time, it works differently, some treatments I pay for in advance, some I must have a referral letter for, some is covered under the scheme and some is only part refunded.

Armed with every question I thought I needed to know, I started calling round Doctors surgeries after 6 months. I’d put of registering with a doctors and the dentists because of the stress of sorting out the medical aid in South Africa. However I was in chronic pain with what turned out to be a slipped disc and I need to see a doctor a.s.a.p.

I asked all the questions I thought I needed to of the receptionist, told her I was new to this country and this medical scheme, made an appointment, saw the doctor and was presented with a bill for AED 100 excess. Medication was easy, I took the prescription to the chemist, gave them my medical aid card, it was all paid for. I had a referral letter for the physio. I spoke to the receptionist on accounts that told me I had to phone my medical aid company, gain permission, and find out what they were willing to pay.

I ended up at the physio not knowing how much medical aid would pay because I could not get the receptionist to tell me how much the physio charged until I had an appointment. I went regardless, sometimes when you’re in that much pain then money isn’t the main issue.

On arrival at the phsyio I was in tears from the walking, the heat and the stress. The receptionist realized I couldn’t sit and cleared a counter for me to lean on, gave me a coffee and asked me where I was from and how long I’d lived here. She asked me if I needed any further assistance so I asked about the medical aid and all was explained to me. I pay AED 350 after each session and I receive AED 329 reimbursement. She gave me an invoice that was signed and dated and a claim form. Simple or so I thought.

I actually called her today to tell her my medical aid company wants a separate claim form for each visit and yet another referral letter, this time from the physio and not the doctor.

My next appointment is on Monday, the receptionist informed me she’d get everything filled out, dated and signed and scanned onto a memory stick so I can email the claim directly.

I would turn for help and guidance to the receptionist at the doctors surgery every time from now on, they are dealing with things like this every day and know what they are doing.

I know a lot of people complain about receptionist when asked what the matter is prior to making an appointment, but that is so the receptionist can make the right length of appointment with the right person. When you pay for your health care, you really can’t afford to be booked in with the doctor when you could’ve gone straight to the physio or nurse.

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Her first post on South Africa isMy Experience with Dr’s Receptionists in South Africa #Guest Post #1 https://beyondthereceptiondesk.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/my-experience-with-drs-receptionists-in-south-africa-guest-post-1

From a Patients Point of View #Guest Blog #Dr’s Receptionists #Empathy #Ireland


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My guest posts are becoming very popular and it is nice to read how important patient care is to the patient from their point of view, and reading about their experiences in difference countries.

This post has come from Ireland and the experiences the writer has found when dealing with Dr’s Receptionists.

The most important thing we should remember that as a Dr’s Receptionist our actions do impact of people’s life, and we can leave lasting impressions – we what are in control of is that the patient is left with the right impression.

Some of the feedback from this post included:

–  intimated by the receptionists I have to deal with 

–  Seemed cold and hard

–   wishing for is someone to show a little bit of empathy 

–   one receptionist who was the most amazing woman I came across 

–  really cared about the patient’s 

–  All we ask is that someone understand our position too.

Thank you A for your contribution to my blog…….

Guest post………….

About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Benign Intracranial Hypertension and chronic migraine. It was a long road to get diagnosed and then an even longer road to get treatment and eventually to be able to live a somewhat normal life. As you can imagine I dealt with many different doctors including neurologists, surgeons, migraine specialists, pain specialists, ophthalmologists and physiotherapists. That’s a lot of doctors and departments which in turn means a lot of doctors receptionists.

When I was first diagnosed I was if I am honest a little intimated by the receptionists I have to deal with. They all seemed so cold and hard and when you are in as much pain as I was all the time then the one thing you are wishing for is someone to show a little bit of empathy, a little bit of emotion and maybe even a little bit of care. It seems that all they do is try to block you from getting the treatment you need.

However there is one receptionist who to me was and still is the most amazing woman I came across through all this. She was the receptionist for the migraine specialist in Beaumont. From the outset it seemed she actually really cared about the patients and would ask you how you were if you called or would have a chat with you when you went for an appointment.

I had just been discharged from hospital a week when I began to have extreme pain. Now I was very good at managing my pain and would only really call the hospital if I really needed to. This was one of those times. I always tried to bypass the receptionists because I knew I would get nowhere with them. This day however I failed to do that and got transferred to the receptionist. I explained the situation and by the end of the explanation I was in tears. To my utter shock, she put me in for an appointment the following day. This was completely unheard of in Beaumont. It turned out the pressure in my head was really high and if she hadn’t given me that appointment, I could have been in serious trouble.

From a patient’s point of view, a doctor’s receptionist is like the gate-keeper. The problem is when you have been in so much pain for so long and all you want is someone to help you, it can be tough to understand the harshness with which some receptionist treat you.

I can also understand the receptionist’s position; it’s a tough job having that much responsibility put on you. All we ask is that you understand our position too. We need help and you are the first person who can give it to us

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thank you and this just highlights what was said “from a patents point of view, a Doctor’s receptionist is like the gate keeper” how very true this is.

As a Receptionist how would you like to be remembered?

Handling Difficult Patients #Guest Post #PracticeIndex


I would like to thank Practice Index for letting me share their post on ‘Handling Difficult Patients’. Practice Index is a support site for GP practice managers and surgery staff. Their popular online discussion forum allows you to ask questions and gain advice and guidance on any surgery issues from the community of NHS professionals. They also have a resources library within the forum which contains hundreds of policies and protocols that you can use in your own practice. You can join the Practice Managers’ forum for free by clicking here: http://practiceindex.co.uk/gp/forum/register

Concept of relax with businessman doing yoga

April 28, 2015 by Practice Index in Patients

Handling Difficult Patients

Dealing with difficult patients at the reception desk and in the waiting room is, like it or not, part and parcel of your job as a Practice Manager. It’s your responsibility to demonstrate confident and compassionate handling of difficult patients, displaying techniques your team – especially newer recruits – can learn and gain self-assurance from.

Keep Calm

Aggressive patients are particularly likely to try and bully you into an argument, but your role here is to stay calm and unemotional. An emotional response from you – irritation, laughter or anger – will only fuel their attack and potentially cause a situation to escalate. In nursing as much as in the general practice, sensible steps to take would include the following:

–  Speak softly and abstain from being judgemental
–  Put a little more physical distance between yourself and the patient and avoid intense eye contact which could be seen as  provocative
–  Be in control of the situation without seeming either demanding or overly authoritative
–  Show your intention to rectify the situation rather than reprimanding the patient for their behaviour

Defy Logic

An angry patient won’t respond to logical arguments, so try to resist the temptation to reason with someone who is clearly in a terrible temper. It’s also important in situations like these to not resort to all-out grovelling if the practice is not at fault. Accepting responsibility is irreversible and could do the practice damage, as well as your own reputation. What you can do, however, is apologise for the particular inconvenience your patient is aggrieved by at this moment – and offer what immediate action you can (if any) to rectify the situation. Make a note of all complaints received, formal or informal – this includes patients storming out of hanging up on phone calls.

Rise Above It

Patients can be rude and downright insulting on a bad day, but try to refrain from letting them know what you think of them or how they’ve made you feel. Stay professionally detached and see this objectivity as your ‘protection zone’ from hurt. Ignore their rudeness and you may find that, with no visible impact, their insults start to die down. Equally, treating an angry adult like the adult they are – despite the toddlerish tantrum they’re throwing – should encourage them to gently return to adult form if you’re consistent enough with it. Patronising, belittling treatment will only inflame that childish rage.

We’ve all come up against it in our time and this just scratches the surface in coping tools for difficult patients. Why not share your best advice for diffusing tempers and managing quarrelsome individuals in the waiting room?

My Experience with Dr’s Receptionists in South Africa #Guest Post #1/2


My blog is mainly about my experiences working within the NHS in the UK as a Receptionist and then as a Manager highlighting the important of Patient Care and how important it is to reward valuable hard working staff with the appropriate training. I am delighted that I have followers from over 160 countries that read my blogs on a regular basis, and I have often wondered what the Patient Care is like in their own countries. I would like to thank a friend for answering these thoughts in two different posts; she is an expat firstly moving to South Africa in 2011. For me it just highlights how important good Customer Care is, and often the answers can be found with the Receptionists or the Practice Manager. As you will read, sometimes it just takes a bit of time, effort and compassion to turn a difficult time for the Patient into a less stressful one. My Guest Posts are proving to be very popular and I would like to thank my friend for sharing her experiences with us. **************************** Guest Post #1 images My experience with Dr’s Receptionists in South Africa. One of the biggest issues we had to deal with when we started our lives as expats in South Africa in January 2011 was the medical aid. This is something we weren’t used to doing, having moved from the UK. Trying to explain to the medical aid company that while their vitality points and credit card was a very good idea, we weren’t switching from one scheme to another, so therefore the ‘extras’ at that stage were of no interest. 8 days after arriving in South Africa the oldest child who moved with us was rushed into hospital after being hit in the neck with a cricket ball, our medical aid hadn’t been registered on the system and so began a very long and complicated matter to recover the money we’d been made to hand over on our American Express card on arrival at the hospital before we were allowed to see our son. It took around 6 months to sort and during that time I received phone calls from all the various departments demanding payment and I’m afraid to say the day the receptionist at the hospital called me to tell me I’d under paid by around £10, having handed over several thousand for scans, x-rays, ambulance, paramedics, doctors, medication, you name it, it is charged individually. I flipped my lid and screamed at her ‘some bloody help would be nice instead of just all these demands’ And that was the end of visiting the Dr’s and dentists for a while as I just couldn’t cope with what to do and how to do it, until the youngest child broke his arm and needed surgery. I was much more assertive. I refused to pay any money until I knew my son was being seen and once he’s been given pain relief, then, I firmly told the receptionist that ‘I will open a file, in the meantime here is my medical aid card and no, I haven’t had time to get any authorised as I don’t know what the doctor wants to do, do you?’ This was a fast learning curve, but I still had no idea how to use the medical aid and the Dr’s and the dentists for none emergencies. I visited a dentist, asked if they accepted the medical aid, but didn’t know I had to ask if they worked within our medical aid fees and was left paying nearly half the bill. I suffer with migraines, the stress was making them worse, along with the heat, so I decided I should visit the local doctors and try to work out what I needed to do in order to make sure that I wasn’t out of pocket financially and that when I had to pay for hospital visits, how to get reimbursed. So pitching up at the surgery I asked the receptionist if she could explain to me step by step what I needed to do and how. She could see I was still confused and called for the practice manager who took me to her office, informed me they worked with my medical aid, they worked within the payment scheme, there were no fees or excess to pay and checked our current balance online for me. She then informed me we were actually in what is known as the payment gap and I did I have the receipts from the dentists? If so I could log them online and I’d be out the payment gap and then our bills would be paid as normal. She then informed me that had we chosen to keep our son, with the cricket ball incident, in hospital over night rather than bringing him home, because we thought it would cost us more money, that all costs would have come out of the inpatient fund which is unlimited and not our out-patient funds that were for doctors and dentists. She also explained the allowances for medication, dental and opticians and told me to come back to her if I had any further problems. Sending me back to the receptionist who made me a cup of coffee and squeezed me in there and then with the doctor as she herself thought I may need to speak to someone about my stress levels. I could not thank the receptionist and the practice manager enough and whenever I visited in the future the receptionist would chat with me, ask after my husband and the children and tell me to help myself to the pot of coffee whilst waiting for the doctor. *****************************   Follow my friend’s experiences when she relocated to Dubai  #2 to follow

First Impressions #Patients Experience at Registering at a New Surgery #Guest Post


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I would like to thank my guest post for sharing her experience when registering with a new Surgery. Whist I am sure that not all surgeries are like this, it just highlights the importance of first impressions. Did you know that people make a decision about the people they meet within seconds of meeting them?

 You never get a second change to make a good first impression.

Guest Post:

First Impressions:

We have just moved to a new area and one of the things on my to-do list was register the family with a local doctor.

I went round one afternoon and told the receptionist I was new to the area and asked if I could register my family with the practice. The Receptionist behind the desk asked me for my address (I’m assuming to see if I was in the vicinity of the practice) and once I explained where we were living she handed me a bunch of forms to be filled out, so and off I went.

A few days later, armed with my filled out forms I went back to the surgery. I had a few queries for some of the questions because we have just moved back to the Country after being away for nearly 8 years so I left them blank so I could ask the receptionist.

When I arrived the surgery it was really busy – not only in the waiting room but there was a large queue forming behind me waiting for the front desk.

There appeared to be only one receptionist on and it seemed she was busy and  appeared ‘flustered’ at dealing with everything and everyone.

When it was my turn I approached the desk and explained I had my registration forms and I had a few queries if she didn’t mind helping me with.

 I can’t say the receptionist was very warm towards helping me, she asked me what the problem was and was very abrupt with her answers – I got the feeling she didn’t quite understand what I was asking so all of a sudden she just picked up the phone, dialed a number and handed me the phone saying “Speak to them and explain, they might come down.

Firstly speak to who? I was not given a name of the person I was about to speak to or the department they were in. Secondly, could I not have been taken to a quieter area around to the side of the reception desk which was away from the main queue of people (it’s quite a large semi-circle desk) I could have then spoken to the person on the other end in privacy. 

When I was speaking to the Receptionist I had my back to the queue of people behind me and therefore had a certain amount of privacy, but now while I was on the phone I found myself going through my private affairs in front of a queue of people and a waiting room full of others.

Whilst I was waiting on someone answering the phone the receptionist started dealing with a lady who was stood right next to me discussing her blood test & what she needed it for? Did that lady realise I could hear her business?

A lady answered the phone with a simple “Yes”. I was taken aback a bit at first as The Receptionist on the front desk didn’t tell me who she was putting me through to and the person answering the telephone didn’t give their name when she answered the phone.

The lady on the end of the phone was every it as abrupt as the receptionist to be honest – answered in short sharp answers and I was made to feel like I was bothering her.

I finally found out the answers I needed so I could go ahead and fill in the gaps on my forms.

A few days later I telephoned the surgery to make a routine appointment for an injection I have every few months and this time I was relieved to have a polite, friendly receptionist on the other end of the phone – she explained she would need a doctor to call with regards to my appointment and booked me in for a telephone consultation five days later between 10 & 10.30am.

I’m afraid it came to no surprise when five days later the call didn’t happen when it should have. I had almost given up hope of getting one at all, when the doctor called at around 12.30.

So I have to admit my first impressions so far haven’t been very good. I have since been speaking to a few local people and they all say what a good surgery it is, so I hope from here on in I find the same.

First impressions to me are important – they are the moments that are most likely to stick in your mind … whether they’re good or bad.

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Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope that this perhaps might have been a one-off and you go on to have a better experience. 

I have written a post that you might find helpful on the importance of informing New Patients of your Surgery protocols:

Registering A New Patient http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-9K

ONE MAN AND HIS DOG. #GuestPost #ReceptionistsStory


People often do not realise, or forget that Receptionists working in GP Surgeries and Hospitals are faced difficult situations each and ever day. Certain events will leave imprints on our hearts,

It it their compassion and dedication to their job that will take them that extra mile to ensure that their patients receive the best possible care and much more. Their dedication often goes unseen by the general public, the Practice Manager and even the GP’s. They simply just get on and do the very best they can and ask for little recognition in return.

Receptionists are on the front line, often faced with situations that need to be dealt and often outside their job description, but they get on and do the job, because they care.

I would like to thank a Receptionists who kindly shared this story, an insight to her feelings, and how important this patient was to her.

Well done, and a big thank you to the many Receptionists that go “that extra mile” to ensure that all our needs are met.

Guest story………………..

When he rung that lunch time I recognised the name at once. I had taken a fax off the machine a month or so ago and speed-read the story before handing it on to the GP. A health professional had been contacted by the patient’s bank manager who was concerned by his erratic behaviour, and felt he needed to let someone know. (Credit to that bank manager!)

Details of that fax flooded back in fragments as he told me he wanted to see a doctor – he had been unable to keep any food down for some time, and now he could not swallow his cup of tea. It was the Monday before Christmas – we were heaving with patients and our appointments were long gone.

You know that instinct that floods you at times like this? I sensed if I hesitated at all he would simply vanish – put down the phone – give up at once. Everything inside me shouted that he NEEDED TO SEE A DOCTOR! Ask him to call back at 8.30am in the morning? Don’t be daft – he won’t. Secure something for him NOW!

At my practice the Duty Doctor has slots for ‘anyone who feels they must see a GP today.’ I booked him in. I prayed that he would show up. I watched from the desk as the time drew near – it was a bit like wondering whether you would catch a glimpse of some frightened wild thing in the bushes!

He came. Gaunt, pale, skin stretched over his face like parchment. An odd, nervy little old man, tiny in his winter clothes. He saw the GP. She messaged Reception to catch a nurse to test his blood urgently. He had his blood test. We booked him a return appointment (at the Duty Doctor’s bidding) the next day. He went home.

When he returned in the morning he was in a smart suit, which once must have fitted him and now simply drowned him. He went in for his appointment. More instructions to Reception – “An ambulance is coming for Mr Small. Print off an Encounter Report for the Ambulance Crew and come and collect the letter I am writing for them.”

Mr Small sat and waited. And waited. There was a quieter moment and I went across to him. I reassured – “The Ambulance WILL be here – it always takes a while.”

He looked at me hesitantly. “Left me dog at home. Be back soon though won’t I?”

“Your dog? Oh! Is – is there anyone with a key who can go in and look after her?”

“No. Don’t know me neighbours. She’ll be OK. Be back tonight wont’ I?”

I thought of the dog. I thought of the few lines of the letter I had just clipped together with the Encounter Report. This scrawny, sad little man wasn’t going anywhere for quite a while. The GP had found ‘A mass’ in his abdomen. His bloods were nightmarish. He was going in for major surgery I imagined.

He was talking once more. “On me way to me sister’s for Christmas. Will I still be able to go?”

What was I to say? I was ‘only the receptionist.’ I said I wasn’t sure – all would become clear once he got to hospital and the doctors sorted things out. That sort of safe, general waffle. (You know!) Then I went back to the office and wrote an extra note which I stapled on to his wodge of papers: “MR SMALL HAS LEFT HIS DOG AT HOME. PLEASE BEAR THIS IN MIND – HE WILL BE VERY ANXIOUS ABOUT HIS DOG IF HE HAS TO LEAVE IT FOR MORE THAN A FEW HOURS.”

Someone suggested ringing Social Services about the dog. I cannot now remember all I did – I remember making quite a few calls one way or the other but not achieving ‘closure.’ Before going home I handed it all on to another colleague in Reception – telephone numbers – people I had talked to – people who might (just might!) ring back to offer help – etc etc. I asked the colleague to ‘let me know’ what happened.

My laid-back colleague didn’t. Things got busy, and she was very distracted. We all know how easily that can happen. It was just a dog after all. I went to bed that night and my dreams were crowded with sad, hollow eyed old men, and whimpering, abandoned dogs starving in tiny locked kitchens. I went to work the next day with my heart in my mouth and my brain frayed.

It had been sorted. Social Services had arranged for the dog to be collected and taken to a kennels. Mr Small was still in hospital. As I knew he would be. Christmas, for him, had been abruptly cancelled.

My lovely family Christmas came and went. We staggered into January with all the winter ills which seem to blow in with the cold winter winds, and all the challenges of a new computer system to grapple with. And in the midst of this someone said – “Oh – that old man with the dog has died.”

Do we ever get used to this sort of thing? I remembered his haunted face – the far too large suit – the wasted eyes. His anxiety for his only real friend – his little dog.

The end of the story was that the sister with whom he never spent Christmas took the dog in. I hope she cherished her and loved her. At least she didn’t stay in the kennels, though she must have wondered, as dogs do, why she never saw her beloved master again.

As Receptionists we should never underestimate the breadth or the strangeness of our role at times. We have to react to so many different scenarios. We are expected to turn on a sixpence – shrug and move on to the next thing – not get involved – blah blah blah.

One man and his dog. Both went to my heart. And if ever the day comes when that doesn’t happen, I will look for another job. It costs to care – but I believe it is what our job is all about.