Let's put this into perspective.........
I flew on QANTAS to Darwin for the 2016 APA Business & Leadership Conference and when I got to my destination how did I rate the experience:
1. The staff were friendly and professional
2. The staff and pilot explained our flight progress or delays
3. The plane was clean
4. The food was tasty.
Did you notice not once on my list was the pilot's safety record or qualifications........
Because I expected this is a mandatory requirement of all pilots that fly for QANTAS and regulatory boards control the standard of a qualified pilot to safely perform the duties required.
So I think as physiotherapist's we are very concerned with the clinical and evidence based skills that we possess and focus much of our time and ongoing learning in this domain for good reason. From a patient's perspective, they expect that when they come for physiotherapy that is a mandatory requirement that is governed by a regulatory board just as the pilot is. What are the qualities that get your patient on-board with a rehabilitation plan, encourages them to come to all scheduled appointments without fail and fill's your appointment book as well as a waiting list:
2. Listening skills
3. Good explanations
In a nut shell, customer service.
Good clinical outcomes are essential, but without the qualities in a physiotherapist that a patient values as an important part of the healthcare experience our greatest threat is not meeting the expectations of our patients.
How many GP's, Surgeons, Physiotherapist's etc. have you encountered that did not display the 3 qualities listed above? Were you willing to be a repeat patient of their's when you could see an equally qualified therapist that encompasses customer service skills into their daily practice.
Our patients have lot's of choice with healthcare these days and are far more educated then ever before, hence if we do not provide the whole package of clinical outcomes and experience then our patients will move onto the next provider.
Our graduates that start in private practice often have a base clinical knowledge but lack the customer experience skills, and this can make them vulnerable to being an initial appointment physiotherapist only.
What does that mean?
It is a graduate therapist that has new patient appointments that never follow up or re-book because the graduate lacked in the package offering of great experience of care, great explanations to our patients and customer service aspects of care.
How can we expect our graduates to offer this experience of care? Some graduates are gifted with these qualities and others this is an aspect that needs to be trained, developed and mentored for the culture of your practice.
This embedded characteristic of continuous clinical improvement should actively be applied to all aspects of care and service delivery including overall patient experience.
We are all physiotherapists with a good base of clinical knowledge, what sets us apart from each other is the experience we offer our patients.
Access the free resource below on awareness of a patient's perspective in physiotherapy private practice. This article will start the discussion with you and your graduates in regards to skills that should be addressed and acquired early on in their career to enhance the positive patient experience in your practice.