Accountability and the Power of a Phone Call


It is what I call one of the 4 A’s of effective medical marketing (the others include Access, Availability and Accommodation). It means the buck stops here. No excuses. Just action.

Healthcare has become increasingly complex, and communication has become more electronic, especially in the age of COVID-19. And while these electronic systems can often streamline processes for patients and referral sources, and increase accessibility, they can also result in communication breakdowns:

  • The doctor’s system is not connecting properly with the pharmacy’s system. 
  • The specialist’s system did not receive the electronic referral from the primary care physician. 
  • The referral or prescription was missing information.
  • The wrong online form was used.  
  • The nurse’s voice mailbox is full.

None of these are intentional. Yet, it is patients who endure the negative consequences: 

  • Delays in receiving needed medication
  • Delays in obtaining critical diagnostic or therapeutic procedures
  • Uncertainty about how to care for an illness or injury

Take Back Control and Solve the Problem
When the electronic systems break, patients and referring physician offices need someone who will take responsibility, navigate the communication breakdown and provide them with solutions. Often, all this requires is a good old-fashioned phone call. 

So when a patient or referring physician is experiencing a challenge or frustration with the system, don’t simply continue the broken email, computer or fax chain. Instead, empower your team to take accountability — to pick up the phone, call the pertinent contact, have a human-to-human conversation to resolve the issue at hand, and then reach back to the patient or physician’s office with answers. 

The little bit of extra time this may take can have a huge return on investment. It can mean the difference between retaining or losing a valued patient or referral source. Done effectively, it can even strengthen relationships, differentiate your practice and drive additional referrals. 

So the next time things aren’t going right, take the time to make the call.