Doctors, Choose Your Words Carefully 

Thinking through how to choose different words for a standard term can have a profound impact on our patients, staff and colleagues.

My favorite example is the waiting room. This nomenclature suggests that patients are supposed to cool their heels as they wait for the doctor to get around to seeing them. It’s as if the doctor is doing the patient a favor.

No wonder patients tend to view waiting rooms as uncomfortable places where they want to spend as little time as possible. “Waiting” also reinforces the awareness of the passing of time, especially if the doctor is running late.

Your patients should enter the “reception area.” You can turn a negative impression of waiting into a positive one of receiving them, which invokes a more inviting, welcoming feeling. A reception area is a place where patients can rest comfortably, learn more about your services and educate themselves about their health.

Our research shows that 96% of patient complaints are customer service-related. This is an excellent soft-touch way to kick off an appointment on the right foot.

See more practice improvement tips from Neil Baum, MD
Dr. Neil H. Baum is medical advisor to Vanguard Communications and author of two books: Marketing Your Clinical Practice - Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, now in its 4th edition, and The Complete Business Guide to a Successful Medical Practice.

Dr. Baum has been dubbed "Dr. Wiz" for his love of magic and his specialty in urology. 
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