Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Importance of the Medical Receptionist

I am writing this now, prior to the pandemic, from my new favorite coffee shop not far from where I live and work. It’s called Couchland and is located in Wickliffe, Ohio.  As the name suggests, every seat is comfortable.  The large space has several couches and plush armchairs that beckon customers to sink in and stay a while.  This is quite different from many of the other coffee shops I patronize, where upon entering, I scan the room like a seasoned detective to see if any of the few comfortable chairs that are present are still available. Otherwise, I must enjoy the discomfort of a hard wooden chair, a larger version of what I sat on in 3rd grade. 

It’s a cat and mouse game as customers compete for premium seating in an adult version of musical chairs.  And, there are rules of etiquette that at times require adjudication.  For example, is it permissible to plop your backpack on a favorable available seat before standing in line to order?

When I stroll into Couchland and gaze upon the surfeit of comfortable options, my mood leavens. In other words, I like the vibe.

The initial impression upon entering an establishment is so critical.   This is just as true for physicians’ offices as for a coffee emporium.   In many ways, the medical receptionist is the keystone of the operation.   (Recall from your grade school days would happens to an arch if the keystone is removed.) The receptionist sets the tone and will largely define the patient’s experience.   The job is easy when patients arrive in a friendly and carefree manner.  But his or her professionalism is tested when patients, who may be ill and anxious, are challenging to handle. 

I have been so fortunate in my career to be surrounded by such a capable and caring staff.  I credit them to a great measure with whatever success I have enjoyed.  And, if there is a day when I have missed the mark, my staff’s attentive manner can help to minimize its effect. 

Indeed, I have heard many times in my career that a patient has left a physician whom the patient really likes because of what is described as rude or dismissive treatment from the doctor’s staff.
So, if you are one of those folks who ‘sets the tone’, I salute you.  And, if you are one likes me who depends upon them, I say thank you.

I've really missed Couchland during these days when I have been hunkered down sipping java on my own couch.  But soon I hope to once again sink into one of their comfy couches, reading my newspaper and sipping a cafe mocha. 

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