First Impressions in Healthcare

Aug 27, 2018 | Healthcare, Leadership Library, Management

Did you know you normally only have about 30 seconds to make a first impression? From the time it takes for your patient to walk through the doors, into the lobby, and to your receptionist, he or she is already forming their opinion of the clinic. It may seem daunting to have less than a minute to set the stage for your patient experience but with these 5 tips, you’ll be well on your way.
1. Hire the smile
Your receptionist is the first person every single one of your patients is going to see. She is going to set the tone for their visit. If he or she is flippant or avoiding eye contact then your patient is going to be immediately put off. Be sure that the receptionists’ main duty is greeting and making patients feel welcome. If she has too many other tasks playing that vital role in your clinic may get lost in everything else she’s needing to accomplish for the day.
2. Present cleanliness
Make sure your chairs are free from stains, your floors are free from any sticky spots, and that any magazines or reading materials are stacked or placed carefully. The less there is to notice in the lobby the more your clientele will assume the rest of the clinic is just as spotless.
3. Mindful magazines
Speaking of that reading material, be sure it fits your clinic. You want to be sure you’re not giving the wrong impression by displaying magazines with articles like “How this Doctor Missed Alyssa’s Brain Tumor.” That doesn’t exactly instill trust, screen the reading materials you’re providing just so you don’t miss any subliminal messages.
4. Update your lobby
This doesn’t need to be a complete overhaul but be mindful of the state of your furniture, reading materials, color on the walls, and where you’re posting important information. Patients want to be welcomed not yelled at with 3 different locations reminding them that they need sign-in and sit down. Keep all office updates and reminders in one spot while keeping the rest of your lobby warm and welcome. My favorite family physician’s office had professional photos done with kids in doctor gear. It is a really nice touch in the lobby over the insurance update reminders I see in other offices.
5. Take care with patient privacy
Don’t ask your patients to sign in and list what they’re being seen for that day, and don’t ask them what they’re there for when other patients are within hearing distance.
The most important thing to remember when making a first impression is the care that your front desk staff puts into the patients. You can have the cleanest, prettiest lobby in the tri-state area, if your receptionist is rude then your patient will take their business elsewhere. When you couple a friendly front desk with a clean lobby, effective reading materials, and impeccable attention to patient care and privacy then you’re sure to wow your patients within that 30-second window.


Clinical Account Manager

Nancy is a Kansas City native who is always looking to hire Nurses, Medical Assistants, Medical office professionals and others on behalf of her clients. When she isn’t working Nancy enjoys cooking, playing with her two dogs and when possible– scuba diving!