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Tips for Resolving Patient Complaints

We all get complaints. However, how you handle these complaints can make or break your reputation. Not all patients are cooperative, and a simple complaint, left unaddressed, can escalate into a big problem.

Keeping patients happy and healthy is the goal of any practice. Focus on the problem and not the person. Be calm, attentive and proactive with complaints to nip them in the bud.

Try these tips to successful resolve complaints:

  • Whether you are on the telephone or in person, have the discussion about the complaint away from other patients.
  • Use good nonverbal body language to demonstrate you are listening. For example, shake your head, maintain eye contact.
  • Use open-ended questions to gather as much information as possible. For example, “could you tell me more about…”
  • Apologize. It’s powerful and typically what a patient wants to hear.
  • Express empathy. “I understand you were frustrated when you needed to return for additional testing.”
  • Thank the patient for bringing the complaint to your attention.

Sometimes patient complaints can escalate and increase your practice risk. If you have questions about this topic, please contact us.

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