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    Navigating patient perception and teamwork

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs will be an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Donna Suter, president of Suter Consulting Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Advanstar.


    Did you see the post-game Super Bowl kiss? The kiss between Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick and his daughter?

    Patient perception of your office can be as emotion-laden and as quick as the hailstorm of controversy surrounding this brief exchange between father and daughter.

    Patient care puts you and your team in a fishbowl. Patients see how you dress, what you eat and how you speak to others. Ouch.

    Previous blog: Daydreaming of the perfect practice

    That type of scrutiny can turn critical if the patient is forced to wait longer than he or she feels is appropriate or if the patient is naturally a critical person. Psychologists have developed clever ways to describe how first impressions are made and what factors come into play. Technical Assistance Research Programs document how critical, dissatisfied consumers are less loyal and tell more people about their dissatisfaction than happy, or satisfied, consumers.

    I’m not going to think about that today. Instead, join me in thinking how management can encourage its team to create a positive and permanent impression with each and every patient encounter.

    What your team needs is clear and explicit expectations and no comment on underlying emotions.  The same industrial psychologists that monitor human behavior as it relates to purchase decisions assure us that guilt and worry keep individuals unbalanced and unproductive in the workplace.

    These emotions create an atmosphere of gossip and cliques. 

    NEXT: Putting pointers into practice

    Donna Suter
    Donna Suter is president of Suter Consulting Group.

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