A couple months ago I picked up my 6-month old son from daycare and they had me sign an incident report because he had fallen face first into a pop-up toy causing a small lump on his head. It was hardly noticeable, but I appreciated the daycare making sure I knew what happened, handling any questions I had right in that moment, and, of course, they were covering themselves too!

This incident got me thinking, wouldn’t it be useful if every organization – especially healthcare organizations – communicated proactively and knew that situations were resolved before their customers or patients left their establishment?

Getting information to the right people, quickly

Many medical practices use patient satisfaction surveys to measure how patients view their practice.  At savvy practices, if a question is answered with a negative response it triggers an incident message, notifying the correct person.  The issue can be addressed quickly, and directly – lessening the chance that it simmers and becomes a bigger issue or, potentially, a negative online review. No one wants that!

The single biggest challenge practices have in fixing problems is knowing about them! Just like my daycare alerting me of my son’s fall and how they can work to prevent it in the future, it diffused a potentially frustrating situation. In healthcare, 70% of patients say that if they receive an apology, it would completely or somewhat minimize their frustration. A patient who shares their frustrations and feels they’re being ignored, will find a new doctor. Practices need to act on these incidents in order to retain patients!

Apologies to Seinfeld, but it’s time for the Airing of Grievances

Let’s face it – issues occur. And we all know that frustrated consumers (and patients) will tell far more people about a bad experience than they will about a good one. A happy patient will tell, on average, 9 people about their experience; on the other hand, an unhappy patient will tell 15 people. That is 15 possible new patients, gone! When patient satisfaction surveys aren’t proactively used, there aren’t many options left for patients to voice themselves. Remember, we want to keep the angry and upset people off social media! Because, when your online reputation is good, and your ratings on sites like Google and Healthgrades are high, the more patients you will attract.

This is great for patients, staff, HR, and more!

Don’t immediately think negative when you think incident

Incidents don’t have to be thought of with a negative connotation. Incidents are just occurrences that can be addressed, good and bad. Incident management solutions also have a wide range of ways to be used, in a practice or any business.

So, while I couldn’t see the lump on my son’s head, I was given the ability to address the situation in real-time. Is your practice ready to do that?