Dental Consultant | What Happens in Your Waiting Room?

Recently, I brought my kids in for a doctor’s visit. There I witnessed a situation that occurred and wanted to share it in hopes that it helps you in your office. Lucky for me, I had brought my laptop with me so I could work, and what I observed became the subject for this blog post.

I couldn’t help but overhear how the scheduling coordinator was handling several phone calls. I sat there astonished at what was happening. When someone called to cancel their appointment, she just replied the same statement, “that’s okay, just call back when you want to make an appointment.” Are you kidding me? If was as if this individual could not care less if the patients came in for their appointment or not. There was no attempt to ask why they needed to cancel, or to even try and salvage the schedule for the day.

In my opinion, I am sure after the patient hung up the phone, rescheduling that appointment was never going to be a high priority for them. In fact, if the office didn’t care if they came or not, then why should the patient? That may sound harsh but think about it for a moment. If someone calls your office and gives the impression that it is “okay to call back to make an appointment” how does that reflect on you? As their oral physician, do you care if they get the treatment that they needed to begin with? Of course, you do!

Not only was the scheduling coordinator handling the phone improperly, but I could hear every word said between employees. They were openly discussing the treatment plan of a patient loud enough for me to overhear. It was also very evident that some conflict was happening between two of the employees. Now considering what I do for a living, you may be thinking I am being overly critical. However, let me point out something. The tension in the waiting room was palpable. So much so, that it made some patients uncomfortable. Still not sure how serious this was? Multiple HIPAA violations occurred during my time in the waiting room, as the information was spoken loud enough for everyone to hear.

I am sharing this so you can discuss it at your next team meeting. Sometimes we forget our voices carry and our patients in the waiting room can observe all kinds of things. I end this with one question for you – what kind of experience do you want your patients to have in your waiting room?

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