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Don't be Nervous: Provider Credentialing Can Put Patients at Ease

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 9:00 AM

Expert Advice

Written by: Elizabeth Holloway

Singing a doctor’s praises can be music to a nervous patient’s ears.

Elizabeth Holloway
Senior consultant

Many patients are nervous when they come to an ophthalmology practice. Patients are scared that something is wrong, and they are worried about someone “fixing” their eyes. To help minimize patient anxiety, ophthalmic professionals should adequately “credential” their physicians — that is, communicate to patients the high quality of care that practice physicians provide.

When establishing a process to credential physicians, ophthalmic administrators should consider the following recommendations and script examples:

Become a believer. The most effective credentialing comes from the heart. Staff members who understand the services provided at the practice and believe in the surgeons’ results provide the strongest testimonials. Ophthalmic professionals should share their enthusiasm about the practice’s doctors with patients. While some patients have a long-term disease and cannot have sight restored, many eye care patients are made whole again. Staff members can give patients comfort by helping them understand they are in “good hands.”

LASIK coordinator script example: “Just to let you know, Dr. Smith performed my LASIK surgery. I was in the best possible hands, and now I can see everything without my glasses! Why don’t we get you scheduled for a consultation to see if Dr. Smith can do the same for you?”

Know the stats. Ophthalmic professionals should always know each physician’s stats. How many years has the doctor been practicing medicine? How many years has the practice been in business? How many LASIK procedures or cataract surgeries has the doctor performed? If the doctor recently entered the practice, call out the credentials of his or her training. If the new doctor is joining an established practice, the staff can highlight the senior physician’s confidence in the new associate’s clinical skills.

Phone team script example: “Dr. Jones recently joined our practice and attended one of the top ophthalmology programs in the country. Dr. Smith handpicked Dr. Jones to provide great care for you and would like Dr. Jones to help manage your glaucoma. Would it be OK for me to schedule you with Dr. Jones?”

Train as a team. Staff members should work together to credential physicians throughout the patient experience. Credentialing on the phone provides peace of mind for the patient when making the appointment, but there’s no reason to stop there. A patient’s comfort level and confidence will continue to increase as his or her physician is credentialed throughout the entire visit.

Reception script example: “Ms. White, I have your insurance card and driver’s license scanned. A technician will be with you as soon as possible. Have a seat, I know Dr. Jones is going to take great care of you.”

Technician script example: “Ms. White, my name is Tami, and I am going to take some measurements of your eyes. After I enter your information into the computer, Dr. Jones is going to take great care of you.”

Scribe script example: “Welcome, Ms. White. Dr. Jones is reviewing your chart and is going to be right in with you. I see this is your first time seeing Dr. Jones. She takes care of my mother, so I know she will take good care of you, too.”

Checkout script example: “I know Dr. Jones appreciates the opportunity to take care of you today. All I need to do now is collect your copay, schedule your next appointment, and get you on your way!”

Optical script example: “Welcome, Ms. White! You saw Dr. Jones? She is a wonderful doctor! Let’s talk a little about her new recommendation to help you see better with your glasses.”

Positive Experience

Every employee in every position in an ophthalmic practice can effectively credential the physicians. Patients will have a positive experience when staff members believe in the physicians, are knowledgeable about the procedures and products offered by the practice, and credential as a team. When the team helps patients become comfortable with their physician and the practice, patients receive great customer service.

YOUR TURN: What other ways can staff effectively credential practice physicians? Please leave your response in the comment section below. Thank you.

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