Don’t Let a Few Bad Patients Ruin Your Day

Running a practice is not easy, but I would rather run my own business than working for someone else.  At least when you are the owner, you are in control.  You can decide which patients you want to see, what hours you want to work, and when you go on vacation.  

Yes, you do not have a set salary and you have all the responsibility.  Nothing is perfect and no matter how much you try, there are certain situations you can’t prevent.  One issue you can’t prevent or predict is the unhappy patient.  You do everything right and you still will not make everyone happy.  Why?  Because there are people in this world you just are simply not happy and take everything out on you and your staff.  I call them the five percenters.  The people who love to be miserable.  These people are different than the ones who simply had a bad day or have life issues.  I am talking about people who want to make some noise in this world by trying to upset others.

However, you are smarter than them.  You will not allow them to do that to you or your staff.  You will kill them with kindness.  As the owner, you are in charge of quality control.  Quality control is not just about making sure your products and technology is in working order, but also that your service is top notch.  The goal is to make your patients happy, but you also know that this not realistic 100% of the time.  The key to handling these patients is not to allow your feelings get in the way.  Your feelings and emotions will lead you down to a path of destruction.  You will never win and will always lose if you allow your feelings get in the way.  Always listen to the patient, repeat back their issue, and then try to fix the problem.  In certain circumstances, like when patients refuse to pay their bills or want their money back for a DME item, you will need to decide if arguing is the right thing to do.  You need to think about how you want this situation to end.  Do you want to keep this patient in your practice?  You might want to if the patient is overall a good patient and just maybe fell into hard times and truly can’t afford the item.  Or, if the patient is one of the five percenters, then, there is no need to argue in this instance as well.  Give them their refund, and move on.  If this situation continually occurs in your practice, then you need to sit down and think of strategies on how to prevent this from happening, such as written agreements prior to fabricating any devices.  

The key is, running a practice does not have to be stressful.  It is your feelings that get in the way.  There is always a cost of doing business, but remember why you are the owner and that is to have the freedom to do what you want to do.  Don’t let a few isolated cases ruin your day.  Focus on all the patients who really appreciate your hard work.  

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