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Director's Feature: The Power of Gratitude

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 11, 2016

Have You Thanked Your Patients Lately?

By MAOPS Executive Director Brian Bowles


I recently read an interesting editorial in Medical Economics entitled, “The last words you should say to any patient,” by Joseph Sidari, M.D. Dr. Sidari emphasized the importance of saying “thank you” to patients. In an effort to increase patient satisfaction scores, he would simply thank his patient for coming in to see him or even for taking medications as prescribed. What he found was that his patient satisfaction scores sky-rocketed from making this simple change.

As I thought about this, I realized that in most industries (fast food, grocery, etc.), a customer is always thanked for their patronage. However, in the medical industry, the customer (patient) is often the one who thanks the provider of the service (physician). Patients are so grateful for the physician and for their ability to make them feel better, they thank YOU!

While it is always nice to be thanked for your work, it is also easy in the physician-patient relationship to forget that the patient has a lot of choices for their health care. This “competition” for services grows every day with the variety of non-physician providers available and now online health care.

Physician rating sites like vitals.com make it very easy for a physician’s reputation to be tarnished very publicly. It is important that physicians understand that they are providing a service for which their clients (patients) have many choices. The more you do to make the patient’s experience a good one, the better it is for you in the long run.

Saying “thank youis a simple way to let your patients know you appreciate their business and their confidence in you. Why not make this one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2016? Try thanking your patients more often and see what happens!

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Comments on this post...

Victoria A. Damba (Munroe) DO says...
Posted Monday, January 18, 2016
I do this all the time. I don't when I started doing it, but it is definitely a habit now. I hope it makes my patients feel like I really do appreciate them and their trust in me as their physician.
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Bruce R. Williams D.O. says...
Posted Monday, January 18, 2016
One of the techniques we emphasize to our Physicians and staff is that of "AIDET". ACKNOWLEDGE (greet your patient using their name), INTRODUCE (introduce your self if you are seeing the patient for the first time or if the patient is unfamiliar to you), DISCUSS (Discuss findings of your evaluation in terms the patient is able to understand), EDUCATE (Educate the patient on the treatment plan, medication, instructions and follow-up. Have the patient tell you what the plan is so there is clear understanding. Use patient education materials that provide written and visual assistance). And THANK the patient for their visit to you. This technique has been studied and found to improve patient satisfaction and patient compliance
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