Dealing with Unhappy Patients: How to Retain a Healthy Relationship

With a patient feedback system, you can retain your unhappy patients by providing them an opportunity to raise their voices (when feeling unheard), and resolve their issues in a creative manner for turning them into your promoters. Patients feel dissatisfied when their expectations with their healthcare practice/provider are not fully met. Not-so-easier appointments, longer wait times, unexplained queries or doubts, uncleanliness, and who knows what other reasons may cause them to feel unhappy and dissatisfied. Dr. Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., and director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality studied the most common pieces of feedback from patient letters or surveys, and compiled the top reasons for patient dissatisfaction:

  1. Sleep depravity
  2. Noise from the nurse station
  3. Loss of personal belongings
  4. Staff entering the room without knocking the door
  5. Whiteboard not being updated
  6. Lack of clear communication
  7. Untidy and messy room
  8. Lack of feeling engaged in the care
  9. Lack of orientation to the room and the hospital
  10. Lack of professionalism from the hospital staff

Providers aren't always aware about these problems. That's because most of these problems arise from your nursing staff's end. Good thing is that your patients understand that it's not directly your fault, but your nurses'. But bad thing is that because they don't get to talk directly about these with you, they feel cheated and unheard. This makes them decide that they'll never come back to you.

Having a Patient Feedback System Is the Solution

Some studies based on understanding patient behaviors and satisfaction suggest that most often, patients do not know it actually what caused them to feel discontent, unless their providers gave them a clear reason for their anger (like the reasons mentioned above). However, “not being fully heard” or “just not felt good” tend to be the most commonly cited reasons for dissatisfaction by the patients. Having a patient feedback system will help both, patients and physicians. For patients, it helps by allowing them to register their feedback directly to the practitioners. For physicians, by giving an opportunity to retain their dissatisfied patients' by performing the service recovery tasks and turning them into their promoters. Not just that! By listening to your patients' issues, you can also keep a check on the quality of care provided by your nursing staff and act on to improve the care condition for your future patients. However, it's not so easy to get your patients on board to register their feedback. You may be wondering why a patient would miss a chance of getting his/her voice heard Read this excerpt from one of our previous blogs: “Actually, it’s already an unwanted series of tasks for individuals to find a doctor and get themselves treated after they fall sick. It drains out their time, money, and physical efforts. The fact of the matter is that they want to get out of this situation as soon as they can. So, after they have received your treatment, they don’t want to get indulged in anything other than getting well and get back to work.” Read the full blog here to know what the best way is to get your patients to register their feedback.

How to Retain Your Unhappy Patients with RepuGen

Retaining your upset patients isn't an easy job to get done. You'll need to be prompt and proactive about knowing your patient's situation, hearing their grievances, and being ready to act to resolve them, and simultaneously changing their mindset from negative to positive about your service and your practice. Steven A. Cohen and Julian Bird in their book Clinical Methods suggest employing three-function model for this: gathering information to find the source of the problem, dealing with patient's emotion, and changing the patient's behavior. Keeping that in mind, we built RepuGen that takes care by letting you reach your unhappy patients at the most critical hour of patient retention process – when they leave your office upset and in a mood to vent out their anger somewhere publicly. This is the time when you should enter the scene and provide them an opportunity to speak out about what went wrong. This kind of approach gives the angry patient an impression that you care about their feelings and that's what matters the most in your attempt of retaining a long-lasting relationship with them. Watch the video below to find out how RepuGen helps you achieve all these so perfectly.

By employing the right tools supported by the right actions from your staff's end, you can allow your unhappy patients to raise their issues and get them resolved to gain back their trust. This way you can improve your quality of care and you won't have to lose your unhappy patients.