Medical Service Training Group

we do patient
service training workshops

Facts about us

WHAT WE DO

We do patient service training workshops ... and we do them very well.  We customize and conduct training workshops for medical practices and hospitals that are designed to help their staff significantly improve patient service.

We offer “Onsite” patient service training workshops that our instructors lead and  “Do-It-Yourself” patient service training workshops that our clients can facilitate. 

ONSITE TRAINING

  

Our "Onsite" training workshops are lively, engaging and fun for the participants! We are passionate at what we do, and we make sure to bring that passion into every workshop.

Every training workshop is designed specifically for our client and includes customized cases, training models and examples. We pride ourselves on our real-world training cases and our ability to get each participant actively engaged in the learning experience. 

DO-IT-YOURSELF TRAINING


Sometimes it’s more effective and convenient for internal staff to conduct their patient service training workshop. Our "Do-It-Yourself" training workshops are the perfect vehicle. Each training workshop includes a detailed easy to follow “Leader’s Guide” and a comprehensive participant workbook. Everything a trainer or manager would need to conduct an effective patient service training workshop.

Our "on-site" training workshops

PATIENT SERVICE FUNDAMENTALS

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Today’s patients expect their healthcare providers to give outstanding medical treatment as well as outstanding patient service. Over the years medical treatment has improved dramatically but patient service has not. This program will help your staff learn the skills needed to provide outstanding patient service. 


Learning Objectives

- Understanding how “Attitude” drives patient service 

- Know the “Polite Words” and “Bonding Actions” that enhance patient service 

- Learn specific job behaviors that improve patient service 


Audience: Administrators and Office Staff


Duration: 2 - 3 Hours

SERVICE RECOVERY

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No matter how hard your staff tries to provide great patient service, sometimes patients will become angry. Regardless of the “cause” of this anger, your staff must be trained on how to handle the patient’s anger. This program will help your staff learn the techniques needed to reduce and manage patient anger. 


Learning Objectives

- Understanding what causes patient anger 

- Know the steps to “De-escalate” and “Defuse” patient anger 

- Understand what phrases undermine service recovery efforts


Audience: Administrators and Office Staff


Duration: 2 - 3 Hours

MANAGING DISRUPTIVE PATIENTS

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The vast majority of your patient encounters are pleasure and rewarding. But there are also a few patients who seem to enjoy being disruptive and threatening.  Unfortunately, in today’s combative environment disruptive patients are becoming more frequent and more frightening.  This program will help prepare your staff for their next disruptive patient incident.  


Learning Objectives :

- Know how to establish "Patient Boundaries"

- Develop a set of "Crisis Actions"

- Understand how to de-escalate patient anger 

- Know the process for removing a disruptive patient from the facility


Audience: Administrators and Office Staff


Duration: 2- 4 Hours

"Do-It-Yourself" training workshops

ARTICLE: Disruptive Patient

Disruptive Patients Service Actions

Although the vast majority of your medical staff’s encounters with patients are routine, some can be frightening and stressful. Unfortunately, in today’s combative environment disruptive patients are becoming more frequent and more frightening.


There are lots of reasons patients are disruptive but regardless of the cause, your medical staff must be prepared to deal with it swiftly and effectively.

One of your primary responsibilities today as a healthcare manager is preparing your staff for their next encounter with a disruptive patient. Here are the 5 “critical actions” you should take to prepare them:


1. Clearly define what specific behaviors constitute as “disruptive patient behavior.”

2.Train your staff how to identify if the patient is “dangerous.”

3. Train your staff how to de-escalate the patient’s anger. 

4. Establish procedures for removing the patient from the facility.

5. Document and debrief every major disruptive patient encounter.


No matter what you do, you can’t avoid disruptive patients, but you can better prepare your staff to handle these frightening and stressful incidents. 


Clarence Fisher

Medical Service Training
8/12/2018 

Preparation is the best defense

Preparation is the best defense

ARTICLE: Long-Term Service

Long-Term Patient Service

 Getting your staff to provide great patient service is easy...for a short period. Just hold a few staff meetings about the importance of great patient service will focus your staff on patient service... for a few days.  Unfortunately, those changes will not last long, and the staff eventually return to their old bad habits. So how do you get your staff to provide great service that lasts longer than a few days or weeks? 


To get your staff to provide great patient service for the long-term, you will need to 3 things in place:


1. You need to clearly outline for your staff what specific patient service actions and behaviors they are "expected" to perform.

 (Your staff members must know what patient service actions and behaviors are “required” vs. “optional.”) 


2. You need to make sure your staff actually knows how to perform these patient service actions and behaviors correctly.
(Managers must define for the staff the correct way to perform all required patient service actions and behaviors.)


3. You need to make sure your staff is motivated to actually perform these patient service actions and behaviors.
(Managers are responsible for keeping your staff motivated by providing ongoing coaching and feedback.) 


Without all three things in place, patient service in your organization will be a short-term event rather than a long-term habit.  


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group

9/16/2018

Long-Term Patient Service Starts Here!

Long-Term Patient Service Starts Here!

ARTICLE: Dig Your Well Now

Preparing for a Patient Crisis

Bestselling author Harvey Mackay published a book several years ago entitled “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” In the book Mackay encouraged his readers to take proactive steps to prepare in advance for a crisis...before the crisis. That makes sense, doesn’t it?


So why do medical practices wait until after a patient crisis in their lobby to consider training their staff on crisis management? Is there a belief that if they just pretend there will never be a patient crisis, it will never happen?  Does that make sense?


Doesn’t it make sense for every medical practice to prepared for that patient crisis now...before it happens? 


So how do you prepare your staff for a patient crisis? The best way is to take very opportunity to discuss examples of past patient service incidents... what happened, who did what, and what could have been done different to minimize or eliminate the crisis.  It’s amazing how much better prepared your staff will become simply by thoroughly discussing past patient crisis incidents.  


 Or you can just go back to pretending that you will never have a patient crisis!


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group

10/22/2018

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ARTICLE: employment Conditions

Patient Service... A Condition of Employment

Let’s face it, most medical practice staff members are hardworking caring people. So why are there so many patient service complaints about them? Maybe patients are complaining because staff members don’t have a clear understanding of what they are expected to do.


The path to good patient service starts with setting clear expectations. In a sense, these expectations are really “conditions of employment” that list those patient service behaviors, tasks and activities that demonstrate good patient service. Conditions of employment for patient service includes what staff members should say and do when interacting with patients.

 

An example of “conditions of employment” for a Front Desk Receptionist could include:


1. Making eye contact and smiling when patient walks into practice

2. Standing up and facing patient

3. Welcoming patient to the practice and the staff member stating their first name

4. Asking patient’s name and how the staff member may help them 

5. Repeating the patient’s name and the staff member stating that they can help the patient

6. Staff member explains next steps in process

7. Ask patient if he/she has questions

8. If there’s paperwork patient needs to complete, explain why it is needed and thank the patient for their help

9. If patient must wait, periodically reassure them that they will be seen soon and apologize for the wait.


The above examples of “conditions of employment” probably don’t exactly fit your practice. But if you expect your hardworking caring staff to provide good patient service maybe it’s time for you to clearly list your practice’s expectations. 


Clarence Fisher
Medical Service Training Group

12/08/2018

Patient Service "is" their job

Patient Service "is" their job

ARTICLE: never ending

Never Ending Patient Service Training

Every healthcare leader wants their team to provide great patient service. They even send out emails to the staff frequently to remind them how important it is to provide great patient service. 


Yet, these same healthcare leaders are often shocked and frustrated when they get complaints that their staff failed to deliver even the most basic patient service. So, what happened? Did the staff fail to read the latest “Be Nice to Patients” memos? 


This challenge often has many roots, but in most healthcare organizations, the problem of poor patient service is caused by the lack of actual patient service training! 


Let’s start with new-hires. In most healthcare organizations new-hire training consists of an “orientation” session (covering personnel issues) and some informal on-the-job operations skills training. What’s often missing from new-hire training is any formal patient service skills training. 


And this lack of patient service skills training continues with long-term staff members. Unfortunately, most healthcare organizations continue to focus on “operational skills” training and offer no ongoing training on patient service skills. 


So, what can healthcare leaders do to make sure their team provides better patient service? Here are three quick and easy training steps you can take in you next staff meeting:


1. Block out 10 minutes to allow your staff to discuss one common patient complaint and how they can fix or minimize that complaint. Encourage the entire staff to help find a solution. 

2. Identify one patient interaction (Checking In, Making an Appointment, Checking Out) and have the staff describe each step in the process. Encourage the staff to include words and actions that can improve the patient’s experience i.e., “Thank you”, “May I”, “I’m sorry”, “Please.”

3. Have your staff review a patient case study and discuss ways to provide better patient service. (Need some patient case studies? Email me at ClarenceFisher@MedServiceTraining.com 

and I will email you a free copy of my “Patient Service Practice Kit.” 


The path to better patient service is more patient service training and less “Be nice to patient” memos! 


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group

12/20/2018

Patient Service Training Should Never End!

Patient Service Training Should Never End!

ARTICLE: Youtube nightmare

Managing Disruptive Patients

How would your medical practice handle a controversial YouTube video seen by thousands of viewers showing your staff mistakenly having a patient physically removed by the police? Scary thought isn’t it?  But that’s exactly what happened to Starbucks in 2018 when one of their employees mistakenly called the police to remove two innocent customers. 


That one mistake created a major public relations nightmare for Starbucks and had a negative impact on its employees as well as their customer base.  But you’re probably saying to yourself... “That would never happen to us!”  Oh, really?


If you haven’t clearly defined what disruptive behaviors should trigger your staff to call for security, your practice could be the next organization with a YouTube public relation nightmare.  And that's a scary thought too!


That's why it's important for your medical practice to teach your staff how to manage their next encounter with a disruptive patient.  They should know how to evaluate the patient's behavior to quickly determine if it is "unacceptable" and a "threat" to others.  Once they have made this evaluation they should know what actions are appropriate.  


If you don't want your practice to be the star in the next Youtube nightmare, your practice needs to start today training your staff how to manage disruptive patients.


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group

8/10/2018

How to avoid "embarrassing" moments

How to avoid "embarrassing" moments

ARTICLE: Angry Patients

Reducing Patient Complaints

Most Administrators and Practice Managers I meet tell me their front office staff does a pretty good job serving their patients. They say they are professional, caring and hard working. But those same Administrators and Practice Managers often admit their staff struggles when they encounter angry patients. And these patients complain the loudest and create the most stress for the front office staff! 


So, what can Administrators and Practice Managers do to help their staff better “manage” angry patients?


Step #1: Let the staff know that these challenges with angry patients are going to happen and it’s not the staff’s fault. Letting them know that management supports them will greatly lower their stress level.


Step #2: In the next staff meeting ask them to take 10 minutes to list those issues that get patients angry. This could include issues around checking in, appointments, billing and checking out. Once the list of issues has been created, encourage the staff to rank order them from “most to least serious.” 


Step #3: Take the issue they ranked “most serious” and ask the staff to develop a written script and strategy for handling an angry patient when this issue occurs. Once they have the script, make copies and distribute a copy to every front office staff member. 


This will not eliminate angry patients, but it will give your front office staff a better chance to successfully “managing” them when they happen.   


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group

11/14/2018

Being Proactive With Angry Patients

Being Proactive With Angry Patients

ARTICLE: grouch

Grouches Give Lousy Patient Service

What's a Grouch?  That's a curmudgeon member of the staff that just creates stress and anxiety for everyone.  They are cold and indifferent with your patients, hostile with almost every staff member and are even aloof with the physicians.  Most medical practices have at least one Grouch on their staff. 

 

So why doesn't the practice fire the Grouch?  Well, despite being combative with everyone, they are often dependable and effective in performing their basic job.  And in this tough employment environment, most practices believe it's better to have a dependable Grouch than someone that is friendly but incompetent.  


Want to know if your practice has a Grouch?  That's easy to do.  Go check the Yelp and Facebook comments your patients have posted about your practice!  You'll be shocked at some of the things they've said about your Grouch and your practice.  


Clarence Fisher

Medical Service Training Group

1/15/2019

Got a practice "grouch?"

Got a practice "grouch?"

ARTICLE: Fight!

Fight In Your Lobby!

 Has this ever happened in your lobby? A patient gets agitated because his appointment is delayed. He starts loudly arguing with your staff about the delay. His voice gets so loud that everyone in the lobby can hear his angry complaints. As your front office staff struggles to respond to the patient, a senior staff member steps forward, has a brief conversation with the patient and escorts him into a side office. A few minutes later they emerge, and the patient quietly returns to his seat in your lobby. Mission accomplished...crisis avoided. 


In today’s contentious environment, most healthcare providers have experienced this situation. Disruptive patients are becoming more frequent and more frightening every day. In fact, these incidents have become so common placed they are now viewed as part of the daily work routine. 


But what would have happened if your senior staff member was not there to step in? What if they’re at lunch or on vacation that day? Who else on your staff has the skill and training needed to deescalate this disruptive incident before it becomes a major crisis? 


Here are two critical steps you should take now just in case your senior staff member is not around to handle your next angry patient: 


1. Get Your Staff Ready. Hey, you know that eventually an angry patient is going to be disruptive so take a few minutes with your staff to discuss what they should do if that happens. Talk about past incidents and discuss steps they should and should not take if it happens again.  

2. Conduct Fire Drills. In school we learn what to do in case of a fire by conducting fire drills. So why not conduct “angry patient” drills with your staff. Identify a situation that angers a patient and have your staff walk through what they would do and say to de escalate and defuse the patient’s anger. 


The best technique for handling angry disruptive patients is to be prepared. 


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.
Medical Service Training Group 

2/15/2019

Handling Fights in the Lobby!

Handling Fights in the Lobby!

Article: Biggest Fears

Staff's Biggest Fears

What’s your biggest fear? Clowns...Roller Coasters... Snakes... Spiders... an IRS Audit!  My biggest fear is heights! 


But if you ask your staff members to name their biggest fear, you’ll discover that their biggest fear is being confronted by an aggressive disruptive patient! They feel the least prepared to deal with this frightening situation. 


Although this is a major issue today in the industry, most healthcare providers rarely talk about this threat. As if not talking about it will somehow make it go away. In fact, most healthcare providers are reluctant to even openly discuss disruptive patient incidents for fear of creating more staff stress and panic.


Unfortunately, in today’s combative environment, the chances of your staff encountering an angry disruptive patient are very high. So, ignoring it is no longer an option. It’s impossible to eliminate disruptive patients but you can better prepare your staff to manage and survive it when it happens.


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group

2/25/2019


Overcoming their worst fears

Overcoming their worst fears

ARTICLE: Be Nice!

Be Nice

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your staff to be nice to patients simply by wearing a smiley face?  Especially those members of your staff that are sometimes cold and surly with patients. 


Well that ain't happening. So, what can you do right now that will actually help your staff "be nice to your patients?"
 

Being nice to patients starts with your staff's understanding "Polite Words" and "Bonding Actions." By using “Polite Words” and phrases your staff can show your patients compassion and caring. “Bonding Actions” demonstrates to the patient that your staff respects and values them.  
 

Let’s face it, you’re not getting your staff to wear smiley faces so patient service training is your only option. 

 

Clarence Fisher
Medical Service Training Group

3/1/2019

Putting on a happy face

Putting on a happy face

Article: Telephone Patient Service

Failure To Communicate

  

As a card-carrying US Army veteran, I love the medical service I get from the Veterans Administration... but I absolutely hate their telephone service. If you can call their phone process “service!” In fact, I believe most of the complaints about the VA starts with their lousy telephone service. 


When I call the Veterans Administration, I am greeted with an answering machine that provides a long laundry list of telephone options (99% have nothing to do with what I need) and eventually I’ll get a live dispassionate staff person whose only job is to transfer me to somebody else. And as I am waiting on hold the second time, I am entertained by some annoying music that is interrupted periodically by a recorded voice telling me how important I am to the VA! 


Sure, the VA’s “automated” telephone service is annoying, but the real service problem is the dispassionate staff person that finally answers my call! After enduring the telephone gauntlet, the last thing you want is a staff member that just wants to get you off the phone. 


Providing good patient service over the telephone comes with a few extra challenges. Since the patient can’t see the person on the other end of the phone, any language or cultural differences are magnified over the telephone. Here are two things your staff can do to improve their telephone patient service...


1. Your staff should give every patient on the phone their undivided attention. Let’s face it, patients call because they need your staff’s help. So, your staff should treat every call as the most important call of the day... because it is to that patient!


2. Patients evaluate their level of service over the phone by the tone and words your staff uses. You staff’s should sound enthusiastic and use words that demonstrate their respect and compassionate for the patient. 


Now I know your staff’s phone service is much better than the VA... but how much better? If you would like some help improving your staff’s telephone service skills, please contact me. Bring in a veteran to make sure your telephone service is A-OK!


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group
4/1/2019

Telephone communication is critical

Telephone communication is critical

Article: angry people

Being Prepared

  

Reality Check... A lot of people are angry today!  They are angry at government agencies, politicians, public institutions and... yes, they are even angry at healthcare providers!  But why are they angry at you?


1. They are in pain.  Medical illness is often accompanied by pain.  Anger is a common emotion in patients with pain and this anger is often focused on your medical staff.      


2. They fear the unknown.  Being sick can be an intensely destabilizing experience.  This worry can manifest as anger and can often be directed at your medical staff.    


3. They feel ignored.  Any patient who displays anger is guaranteed to attract attention. So, some patient's display of anger may actually suggest that they just feel “unheard” by your medical staff.  


4. They are angry about rising costs.  The increased burden of rising health insurance costs and copayments has really angered patients.  


Let's face it... you can't "fix" all of these patient issues... but you can take steps to better prepare your staff to effectively manage angry patients.   So, what are you doing now to make sure your staff is ready for their next angry patient incident? 


If you would like more information about how to prepare your staff for the next angry patient incident, please contact me.


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.
Medical Service Training Group
5/3/2019

People are angry!

People are angry!

Article: Changing The Front Desk

Finding The Patient's Needs

Your front office staff plays a vital role in the operation of your practice and the care of your patients.  They have the primary responsibility for greeting your patients, confirming and documenting their appointments, collecting additional personal information, confirming insurance information and payment methods and preparing your patients for the next phase of their appointment.  No matter the practice size or speciality, all front office staffs perform these tasks... some better than others.  


But if you study these tasks carefully, there is an obvious issue... the majority of these duties are administrative and focused more on the "practice's needs" than on the "patient's needs."  Other than your staff greeting the patients when they arrive for their appointment, the rest of the administrative tasks could have been completed online before the appointment.   


So what could your front office staff do that would focus more on the patient's needs?  How could your staff drastically alter or disrupt the traditional patient check-in experience?


The easiest thing your staff can do is learn more about your patient's needs or preferences.  In other words, have your front office staff ask a few questions about how the patient wants to interact with your staff and the practice... for example:


- How would the patient prefer to make or change their appointments... online (email/ text) or by phone?


- How would the patient prefer to be reminded about appointments or get helpful information...online (email / text) or by phone?


- How would the patient prefer to discuss billing or insurance questions... online (email / text) or schedule a phone appointment with the Billing Department?


- How would the patient prefer to be notified of an appointment delay or the need to reschedule... online (email / text) or by phone?


Each of these questions would give your front office staff an opportunity to learn more about your patient and help your staff tailor your services to the "patient's needs."  So what are you doing to make sure your services meet your "patient's needs?"  


Clarence L. Fisher, Jr.

Medical Service Training Group

5/10/2019

Ask "Patient Needs" Questions

Ask "Patient Needs" Questions

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Medical Service Training Group

1612 Heatherloch Drive - Gastonia, NC 28054

(704) 674-8482