“I don’t like your music.”
This one surprised me. We got more comments on this topic than we could have imagined. People suffering from pain prefer certain music. Most will not verbalize it to you but your music does matter. Even though you can’t please everyone, there are music genres better than others. If you randomly let your staff choose, most likely patients won’t like it. Stay away from rock, rap and heavy metal. The best options are soft-rock, smooth jazz, reggae, the 80’s or 70’s. Other options are non-commercialized music, such as “elevator music”, instrumental, meditation, etc depending on your clinic’s patient population. (I caution too mellow of music however).
Even though every patient is unique, they do share some very common thoughts when it comes to their therapy experience.
We find that many physical therapy (and occupational therapy) clinics are NOT in tune with the actual thoughts of their patients. –James Ko, PT
Here are more things that patients want you to know…(in no particular order)
“Don’t make me wait.”
This is very important. Patients hate waiting. Disrespecting someone’s time is worse than anything else. Time is more valuable than money–one can’t get it back. Break this rule and you will suffer.
“I hate paperwork.”
Having too many forms, redundantly asking the same question, or having them write their name multiple times is bad. Most practices have too much paperwork–more than necessary. Streamlining your paperwork is more important than you think. Patients have spoken.
“Where’s my massage?”
People in pain like to be touched, even if it’s for only 5-minutes. Most like it–not all, but most. Massage is different than soft-tissue mobilization. Massage relaxes. It soothes and heals.
“I hate bills!”
This is a deal breaker. If you are not discussing patient responsibility payments from the get-go (and collecting upfront), you are losing more than you know. Most patients will stop coming if there is ambiguity financially. And if you are not doing it correctly (saying the wrong words, etc.), you will turn people off. They won’t always tell you while face to face; they will simply stop coming.
“Your front desk girl is rude.”
It surprises me what others consider rude. Even if your front desk person is actually nice, they can come-off as being rude if they are saying the wrong words, busy, not greeting properly, not making eye contact, not smiling, etc. Many patients have chosen to go elsewhere just for this reason alone. Studies show that this is the number one reason a patient will leave and never come back.
“Don’t call or text me so much.”
People don’t like being hounded. I know you want to keep your schedule full but avoid over-reminding. Make your sessions more valuable and get them wanting to come in, or you will suffer. There is a step-by-step way to boosting your session’s value. Learn more at an IndeFree Clinical Excellence course near you.
“Don’t make me do fluffy exercises.”
Many patient’s say their therapy sessions are a too “fluffy” and not challenging enough. They hate doing exercises in the clinic that they could be doing at home. Remember that their time is important to them (just like it is to you). Don’t waste their time. Check out Multifunctional Movements.
“Sessions are too long.”
More and more patients are disliking long treatment sessions. Remove the fluff. Stop doing the temporary relief treatments (such as ice/heat, US, iontophoresis, fluffy exercises, etc.) and start doing advanced treatments that lead to lasting change. Or they will cancel or no-show more often. Learn “Fast-Acting Techniques” at the All-New Clinical Excellence course.
“Make me FEEL better.”
Making a patient feel better doesn’t always mean more ROM, strength, or flexibility. Sometimes making them feel better means giving them a sense of belonging and boosting their self-esteem. Some of my best word-of-mouth patients (that bring me countless referrals), aren’t necessarily getting better clinically but they feel they are improving in more important ways. I will share the exact things we do as a team (it is a team thing) that boosts referrals and patient loyalty. Learn more at our All-New Staff Training course.
Well, that rounds out our most common thoughts patients want you to know! Are you surprised by any of these? Will you start doing some anonymous surveys of your patients? Share in the comments below.