The Biggest Complaints about Healthcare Providers...and How to Fix Them

Written By Laura Allen, President of Sales & Marketing, AHC Ventures, Inc on January 31, 2020


Many of CryoDerm's most faithful customers are the healthcare providers who use and recommend our products, so we understandably take an interest in the healthcare field. One thing is evident, no matter what profession or business you are in, good customer service has to be a priority. Unless you're the only game in town, we should all remember that people have a lot of choices these days, whether it's for choosing a healthcare provider or choosing where to shop or what products to buy. 

According to an article that first appeared in Physicians Practice in 2011, and was updated in 2018, the top three complaints about providers are three R's: Rudeness, Rushing, and Reproach. Sue Jacque, the author of the article, stated that she received a huge amount of comments from not only doctors, but also from patients who had read the article while sitting in the waiting room. She was surprised at all the negative comments from patients. 

Jacque stated that the rudeness encountered by patients included everything from snippy receptionists and office staff to long wait times, to feeling ignored and not listened to by the provider, and uncalled-for interruptions, such as other staff members coming into the treatment room to speak to the doctor during their appointment, which they felt took away from their own already-too-short time and the doctor's attention to them. 

It serves to remind yourself (if you're the provider) and give friendly reminders to your staff that this is the age of online reviews. Most consumers who are looking for any kind of healthcare provider tend to go online these days and see what people have to say. Practice management companies also routinely send out surveys after appointments to get the patient's opinion of the visit. I personally had a doctor's appointment yesterday with a specialist, and by the time I got home, the survey was waiting in my inbox. It did in fact ask everything from "Were you greeted respectfully and pleasantly by the receptionist?" to "Did you feel the physician listened carefully to you and answered all your questions?" Fortunately, I had a good experience yesterday, but that hasn't always been the case. 

Patients feeling rushed is symptomatic of unrealistic scheduling, period. Doctors in certain specialties of course have emergencies; a vascular surgeon may have to run out the door to help someone who was airlifted in due to an aneurysm or an OB-GYN has to dash out to deliver a baby that decided to come early. But on the whole, doctors are overscheduled. Yes, there may be a certain amount overscheduling, due to the expectation of no-shows or cancellations on any given day. But the patient who has an appointment scheduled at 9 am shouldn't still be sitting in the waiting room at 10:30, an all-too-frequent occurrence. Most people will be understanding if the receptionist lets them know that there was an emergency, but a big patient complaint is that there is no such announcement, and that they are sitting for an hour or two wondering why they bothered to arrive on time. Everyone's time is valuable! We have to remember that patients and clients are people who have jobs, school, families, and obligations the same as anyone else, and instruct the staff to let people know about unreasonable delays. 

Finally, reproach was high on the list...providers (including massage therapists, chiropractors, and others) who make the patient feel like whatever is bothering them is all their own fault: "You wouldn't be overweight if you would stop eating cheeseburgers," or "The reason you have the flu is your failure to get a flu shot," or "How do you expect your back to get better if you won't exercise?" While in fact people can do a lot to help themselves, nobody likes being talked down to and scolded like an errant child, and people don't appreciate spending their money for someone to fuss at them. Being friendly, polite, and respectful to people goes a long way. In fact, Jacque felt like the majority of patients who wrote to her were ultimately complaining about one thing: a lack of respect from the provider. 

Remember, it's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. 


Posted In: Business Practice Management