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Welcome to question of the day #302

Eyetools question of the day #302

I have two community-based eye care practices and want to make sure they are prosperous. How can I keep my patients happy so they will return for future eye care?

Everyone wants to feel special. Having just gone back to working in community practice here’s what I do to make people feel special. My aim is for people to remember me and for me to remember them.

I’m super polite. I greet the patient formally by their title and family name and say ‘it’s nice to meet you’ or ‘nice to see you again’.

I lead them to the consulting room and guide them to the examining chair. There are four chairs in the room and not everyone knows which chair to sit in without being guided.

I introduce myself by my first name and advise them that I’ll be examining their eyes. I ask them how they are.

I conduct the eye examination and make a note of any unusual comments the patient makes. Here are some examples from earlier this week:

‘We’ve just come back from a cruise in Norway.’

‘I’ve just handed in my thesis.’

‘I like to read books by

.

‘I doing a 100-mile cycle to celebrate my birthday next week.’

‘I’m very keen on sports fishing [angling].’

I write these comments at the very top of the clinical records in capital letters as my notes are handwritten. They could easily be included in the history and symptoms section of a computerised record card. The next time I see the patient I immediately see the very obvious note and can mention it to the person: ‘I see the last time you had your exams examined you had just come back from a cruise in Norway.’

I don’t force it. Not all patients make unusual comments and not all records will have a note like this. In my experience, it will be around 50%.

Of course, these notes become dated with time but I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add during each examination.

Some people will think that this approach is insincere but I disagree. It will make the patient feel relaxed and special. A relaxed patient is a good patient and a good patient makes for a good examination.

A patient that is made to feel special in my practice is more likely to return to my practice.