Checking the pulse of contemporary medical practices with
Karen Hickman, Etiquette and Protocol Consultant
It is no doubt the technical training of a physician or dentist is of utmost importance in his or her practice. The expertise of a knowledgeable professional allows for trust and loyalty from patients. And yet, many patients don't develop that trust and loyalty, no matter how skilled the medical and dental care, because of the unprofessional treatment they've encountered on the way to the examination room.
Too often, as practices continue to grow larger, compassion in medicine and dentistry is forfeited through lengthy holds when scheduling appointments, an unprofessional air in the office, impersonal first impressions, and overall insensitive actions from the office staff. And this has a measurable effect on patient relations: research show us that up to one-third of malpractice suits stem from bad behavior on the part of the doctor or staff.
As a former nurse and longtime member of the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Medical Society-Alliance, I understand health care. And as a trained expert in etiquette and protocol, I understand the importance of professional courtesy. Marrying my experiences in medicine and etiquette, I'm able to effectively address the growing perception of unprofessional medical and dental practices and then provide teams the tools they need to create a distinguished and caring practice.
Recently, I was able to partner with the Fort Wayne Medical Society-Alliance to provide the Fort Wayne Medical Society with what the Alliance titled "Compassion in Medicine," a researched-based educational seminar and comprehensive training program. I had the opportunity to enlighten over 200 office staff, receptionists, administrators, nurses, clinicians, and office managers with my Professional Courtesy Essentials program. The staff members learned how to professionally apply communication skills, conflict management, technology etiquette, and the development of a positive cultural philosophy while participating in role-play scenarios to better understand and relate to the patients. Further, the Alliance used the seminar as a fundraiser and contributed $15,000 to community charities related to health care and health education.
The partnership between my Professional Courtesy Essentials program, the medical society, and the alliance created the opportunity to meet the goals of continuing education; excellence in health care; and care for patients, their families, and the community. I would be delighted to share this valuable and important message with you and your alliance and community, while educating and encouraging what I am sure is already excellent medical and dental care from your local medical or dental association. Please feel free to contact me for more information about the program and the opportunity to increase the professionalism in medicine and patient satisfaction.