Who's confused? Angry patients or physicians?

Radiology practices don’t like having angry patients, according to AuntMinnie:

Patient dissatisfaction is a recurring problem for radiology administrators and imaging providers, and one that can cause disruption, thus wasting a practice’s precious time.


But luckily a speaker at a recent conference is prepared with a diagnosis and solution. According to FrogDog’s Leslie Farnsworth, the reasons patients get angry are (in order of prevalence):

  • Confusion (50% of respondents)
  • Wait time (21%)
  • Billing mistakes
  • How they are treated by staff
  • Cost of a procedure

I found it funny that these conclusions on patient anger were drawn from a survey of physician practices rather than from patients. Must have been easier and cheaper than going to the source. A more interesting approach would have been to compare the perceptions of patients with those of practices. Nevertheless, the solutions Farnsworth offers to address patient confusion and improve communications are sensible, if a bit paternalistic:

  1. Explain to the patient in simple turns what to expect
  2. Disarm the patient –tell them directly they’re going to have to wait a long time or have a lousy experience
  3. “Co-build the solution” by asking patients to express their desires
  4. “Postsell” the solution by confirming the plan with the patient

Speaking of confusing, the address was delivered at the AHRA conference. I looked up AHRA to find out what it stood for and found the Association for Medical Imaging Management. Hmm. I looked back on their history and found that their original name was the American Hospital Radiology Administrators, Inc., which at some point became American Healthcare Radiology Administrators. Funny that they changed the name but not the acronym.

August 16, 2011

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