A Tale of Two Patient Check-in Experiences

I recently had to have a couple of diagnostic tests that resulted in two very different first impressions.

The Good
For my first test, I arrived ahead of my appointment time and was promptly greeted at the registration desk by a friendly smile and voice. She welcomed me, took my information, reviewed it carefully and immediately discovered an error in the orders. One of my physicians was ordering lab work that I had recently completed for another physician.

This kind receptionist advised me of the duplication and assured me that I would not have to go through the same testing again. I was relieved and grateful for her attention to detail. She even recognized my name and asked if I was related to my late husband who had been a beloved physician she knew at that hospital.

I immediately felt welcomed, well cared for and valued. Throughout the next few days, I sang praises about this woman, this experience and this facility to everyone I knew. If I can, I will return there for any future testing I may need, even though it is farther from my home than other options.  

The Bad
My second test required that I go to a different facility, and the experience was definitely not the same. It was an afternoon appointment that required I both fast and drink a lot of water. Needless to say, I was more than ready to get it over with, use the restroom and get something to eat.

Again, I arrived well ahead of my appointment time and walked up to the registration desk. The man who “greeted” me did not look up from what he was doing when he said, ”Hello” and asked for my order. I explained that my doctor had faxed it over. He briefly looked at his computer and then said he did not have it. I further explained that I had just spoken with my physician to confirm that everything was set. Unmoved, he simply repeated that he did not have it and did not offer to do anything further to assist.

I was already stressed about the testing and uncomfortable from the prep, and now I was frustrated and even a bit emotional as I asked to speak to this man’s manager. Eventually, through sheer perseverance, I was able to resolve the issue with this second facility, but not before a great deal of added stress which certainly did not help my health. And I left that facility with a feeling that I never wanted to return. 

The Choice
Each day you and your staff have choices and opportunities with every single patient you serve. You can be apathetic and restrictive, going through the motions and sticking to the script. Or you can be accessible, accountable and accommodating. You have the power to make a difference — which will you choose?