As health professionals we often assume. We assume what treatment we think is best for our patient is what our patient also thinks is best for them. We may feel we provide great value but what do our patients think?
Patients will value your service if their expectations are met! Sounds easy right? Well it would be if every patient had the same expectations. Unfortunately as we all know, they don’t.
One of the easiest ways to work out a patient’s expectations is to ask! Don’t assume. A simple question is all it takes. ‘What are your expectations and goals of today’s consult?’
Their expectations and ideal treatment may or may not be inline with yours. It may also be unrealistic.
A patient comes in expecting a lot of hands on treatment and receives mainly exercises. Or a patient comes in expecting comprehensive education and self-management advice. Instead given only hands on therapy. Both scenarios have not met patient expectations and will lead to a perception of poor value.
Expectations should be discussed and agreed upon. Explain what will be effective and realistic to achieve a good outcome. Then a combination of treatment techniques should met or exceed expectation. This gives the patient a perception of value.
Remember, it may take time to gain rapport and trust. Then you can treat and meet expectations of the ideal treatment.
So how do you know if their not valuing your service?
Regular DNA’s and cancellations are good indicators your patients aren’t valuing your service. Although not always! We can often blame price. This is only an issue when value is not appreciated. The best way to find out is to get on the phone and ask some questions.
A simple ‘care call’ for a follow up will often give you some good feedback and at worst the patient will appreciate the call. Calling DNA’s and cancellations is not fun, but getting into a regular routine will help you learn through both positive and negative feedback.
Feedback can also be received confidentially through a questionnaire form at the administration desk. This gives patients a good opportunity to let you know their thoughts of the treatment. This can help guide your consultations to improve patient value.
You may be the best practitioner in the world but it’s necessary to meet your patients’ expectations. This will lead to poor clinical outcomes, unsuccessful patient goals and a poor caseload.