How to Drive a Patient Away Without Even Trying

Posted by Kristin Baird

I just found out that I have skin cancer, but honestly, that news isn’t as painful as trying to get a call back with my results.  Here’s how the ordeal played out.

Golf has a lot of wonderful benefits for folks over 50 years of age, not the least of which are health benefits. In fact, the health benefits from playing golf can lead to a longer and more fulfilling life. It’s no wonder that many people choose to take up golf later in life or after retirement as a fun way to get good exercise. What are some of the health benefits that you can get from playing golf? Seniors who frequently play golf tend to have better health care at home. Exercise is obviously important to good health and golf offers complete body exercises. Walking and bearing weight on your bones and joints will help strengthen them and help prevent weakness or injury. Golf can also be a great way to prevent osteoporosis.

The key to success is to find out the most under-serviced niche in your area and market your own services aggressively.

Read this and decide if you would return to or recommend this practice.

  1. When the biopsy was done, the doctor told me the office would call me within a week with my results.
  2. At the ten-day mark, when I hadn’t heard, I called. The call center told me that the notes said the nurse had in fact called me five days post-biopsy.  Since I had no message and no missed call, I asked for another call and provided my number.
  3. When I didn’t hear by mid-day the next day, I called again and was told that there is only one nurse, and she had gone home for the day. When I asked to speak to someone else, the call center offered to ask the doctor to call me.  I was surprised at the offer, especially since it was a Friday afternoon. Nonetheless I actually expected to hear from the doctor.
  4. Needless to say, I was once again disappointed when I didn’t get the promised call.
  5. Bright and early Monday morning (almost three weeks to the day from my biopsy), I called the office again and left a message, explaining that I would be unavailable for a certain period of time and asking that they either leave a message (I had signed paperwork at the office saying this was allowed) or that I be reached at a specific time. And what did I get? Nothing. Rather than leave another message, I called and asked to speak to the practice manager. When the call center asked why I explained that I wanted the manager to know that I had left three messages and had not received a return call.  The call center person confirmed that, three “tasks” were issued, asking the nurse to return my call.  Then she said, “I’m not trying to stop you from speaking to the manager, but are you aware that your biopsy results didn’t even come in until January 28th”?  I don’t know if the clock had stopped ticking for this woman, but it was nearly three weeks past that date.

“Are you aware?” Are you serious? Here is a list of responses that crossed my mind:

“Are you aware that I couldn’t possibly know that because no one has returned my messages?”

“Are you aware that five business days have passed since my biopsy results came in, and no one has called me with the results?”

“Are you aware that I was told that someone had already called me with the results the day after you say the results came in?”

“Are you aware that asking that question in a service recovery situation is not helpful in any way?”

3 Weeks

Instead, I said that the date my results came in was irrelevant to my complaint about not receiving a return phone call.  The agent said she would relay a message and ask the practice manager to return my call.  At that point I said I wasn’t willing to leave a message. I had no confidence that it would be returned and that I would like the practice manager’s direct line.  They told methe line would ring into the call center.  I left my name and number hoping the practice manager knew service recovery.

  1. The following day, the nurse called me. Before providing me with the results, she felt compelled to enlighten me on two things.  First, that she was on vacation, which is why she didn’t return my call sooner and second, that HIPAA prevents them from leaving results in a voice mail.

Needless to say, I have taken my results and am seeking treatment elsewhere.

  1. Take on Your Toughest Opponent
  2. Listen With Your Eyes For A Better Patient Experience
  3. Accountability Starts with Your Thoughts
  4. “Leaders don’t duck” (and other useful tapes)
  5. Engaged Nurses – The Secret to a Great Patient Experience
Tags: , , ,