Friday, September 23, 2011

When patients complain – a guide for doctors by Dr Malpani

It’s no fun when patients are unhappy and have complaints. No one likes dealing with patient complaints , which is why they are often ignored . Even worse, many patients with complaints are belittled or patronised, as a result of which a festering problem just becomes worse.
It’s best to treat every complaint as a gift ! Remember that the fact that the patient has taken the time and trouble to complain means that the patient is not planning to desert you and walk off to the doctor next door !

Complaints are the best opportunity doctors have to understand the patient’s experience , so that they can help to improve it.

1. You can help to resolve the patient’s complaint, first by making sure the patient feels heard, and second by addressing the problem so it does not recur.
2. You can gain insight into your practice , as seen through the patient’s eyes. This will help you become more empathetic.
3. You act as a role model to your staff . Once they see how seriously you treat patient complaints , they will also treat them with equal respect !
4. If you address the problem and satisfy the patient , you can create a “raving fan” for your practice, who will be happy to recommend you to his friends and family.

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