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Six Quick Steps for Dealing with Unhappy Patients

11 Sep 2018 | by Dr. Surabhi Bhati


If you have ever been to the hospital, It is unlikely that you have not seen an unhappy patient or his family complaining about something or someone at the hospital. If you are working in the hospital, these incidents are common in your day to day work life.

Keeping patients happy and satisfied is crucial for hospitals as it not only retain existing patients but also builds loyalty among patients and hence plays an important part in the brand building of the hospital.

It is crucial for employees working in healthcare to be able to control these situations. Hence, developing and implementing strategies to improve patient experience is one of the most important tasks for the hospital administrator.

As a healthcare provider, it is inevitable to avoid these situations where the patient or his family is angry and is not satisfied with certain things. Under these situations, you need a clear, concise and step by step plan to understand and act upon the situation.

Not only handling these situations effectively will prevent an escalation of the situation but it is not unlikely that the angry patient or his family become one of your most loyal customers. The aim of this blog is to provide you with insight on how you and your team can tackle these unwanted situations.

Step 1: Be calm and listen to your patients:

You have to understand that no one would ever want to stuck in the hospital that too sick and vulnerable. They are scared, confused and need constant guidance on how to manage their situation. It is your job to make them comfortable and the first step to that is to be calm and listen to your patient.

Step 2: Show empathy and give the patient some time to cool off:

Most of the time you might find it difficult to keep your calm but your behaviour is the most important aspect in controlling the situation. It is up to you to manage the situation- you are your own boss. Don't lose your cool under any situation. It is understandable that it is a tough situation for you but keeping your cool is very helpful in this situation.

Step 3: Talk to the patient privately:

It is strongly advisable to handle such situations discreetly. Take the patient away from the crowd preferably to a quiet sitting area. Offer them a glass of water or something to drink and try to understand their concern.

This step is very important as it not only prevents any disturbance to your other patients and staff but also provides you with an opportunity to give your full attention towards the patient.

Step 4: Do not argue and apologize for the inconvenience caused:

It is advisable not to argue with the patient. It doesn't mean you can’t express your opinion rather you need to be calm and empathetic while expressing your opinion. There is an old saying “Always Listen before you talk”. It is the best strategy that your patient relationship staff can use to attend to patients who are upset.

Always listen to your patients before you present your points to them.

Step 5: Act upon the complaint immediately:

The sooner you act on the patients complain, the faster you pacify the unsatisfied patient. If you can’t act on the patient complaint it is always a good idea to give then a timeline under which your team will be acting on the complaint. Understand that patients are worried and confused and you and your team are there to help them and guide them throughout the process.

Step 6: Employ technology:

Use services like appointment scheduling, automated email, Sms informing patients about upcoming appointment can prevent hospitals from major issues like patients not happy due to a missed appointment. Moreover, technologies like MedEngage® - Real-time solutions will help you in attending to the patient complaint as soon as they are reported.

At last, it is important that you keep your patients happy and satisfied with taking care of their needs in time. The best way to get to know what your patients want is using real-time patient feedback system like, MedEngage® Feedback.

The patient feedback management system not only helps you in keeping track of all your patient’s complaint but also provides escalations mechanism to resolve the issue in a quick and efficient manner.

Interested in optimising patient feedback for your hospital? Contact Healtho5 today forMedEnagage Feedback -Real-time patient feedback solution.

We at Healtho5 are on a mission to solve patient engagement market in India and provide affordable easy to use solutions to the healthcare industry and patients.

Visit Healtho5 or call us @ +91-8047092031

       How to manage an unhappy patient in your hospital:

  1. Be calm and listen to your patients.
  2. Show empathy and give the patient some time to cool off.
  3. Talk to the patient privately.
  4. Do not Argue and apologize for the inconvenience caused.
  5. Act upon the complaint immediately.
  6. Employ technology to prevent and manage such incidences.

About the Author: Dr Surabhi Bhati is Marketing Manager at Healtho5 Solutions. She has a medical degree with an MBA in Health Information Technology (HIT). She is passionate about healthcare innovation, writing, and online marketing.