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A day in the life of patient services
Published on 19 July 2017 by Patti Parmar, Patient Services Advisor, updated on 19 July 2017
No two days are ever the same in the life of a Patient Services Advisor at One Stop Doctors – this is just one of the many things that makes our role so varied and interesting! A Patient Services Advisor gives the patient or visitor their first impression of One Stop Doctors – and whether by phone call or in person, there is only ever ONE chance to make that all-important FIRST impression…
The day at One Stop Doctors starts with two Patient Service Advisors on an early shift arriving at the reception desk at 06:30 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to start the day. Setting up the coffee machine is pretty much a priority whilst we get our workstations set up for the busy day ahead. Our patients often ask for a coffee and we are always happy to oblige. Patient Services Advisor reinforcements arrive at various times throughout the day to keep our streamlined service going until 9pm every weekday.
The phone starts ringing early – most frequently it is someone wanting to see one of our GP’s today as they can’t get in to see their NHS GP, sometimes maybe for a week or so, especially at a time which fits in with their work schedule. We often get patients needing to see a Dentist urgently as well – a chipped tooth or dental pain that needs prompt attention as I am sure we have all experienced! Another patient has maybe woken with a stiff neck and needs to see a Physiotherapist before or after work today. We all have a real sense of satisfaction making appointments for our patients, working closely with all the various teams within the clinic, to ensure a seamless service at One Stop Doctors.
We check the list of patients that are booked for the day and check that the registration forms are prepared for those on their first visit, together with any other necessary forms they might need to complete for their appointment to go ahead smoothly and without delay. Doors open at 7am ready for the patients who are coming in before their own working day or even once on the way to the airport for a flight! Patients may be coming back to see one of our Consultant Specialists – Orthopaedic, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Sports Medicine or even Hypnotherapy!
The Patient Services Team monitor the enquiry email address throughout the day where there will be a host of different queries – travel vaccinations required for a trip to Costa Rica; a referral for an urgent MRI scan of the head and neck; a patient enquiring about a dermatology consultation.
Our ‘raison d’etre’ is to make every patient’s journey at OSD as smooth and pleasant as it can possibly be, starting with a warm and genuine welcome – we all love meeting people, so a smile and personal greeting is our top priority followed by an efficient response to whatever is needed next. This could be almost anything: answering a general enquiry, making or rearranging an appointment, taking a payment for a completed appointment or sitting chatting with a patient who may require further information about the OSD membership plans. We are really good listeners too – happy to sort out a problem in whichever form it is presented to us! And there has been more than one occasion when a lonely soul phones up for an extended chat when it seems they may not necessarily be planning to use our range of services.
We try our very best to empathise with each and every patient – sensing when they may be anxious about an impending diagnosis or nervous about going for an MRI scan to try to reassure and offer a listening ear or to offer our compliments when a patient is clearly excited about the results of the aesthetics appointment they have just had. We may need to fetch a patient from their car in a wheelchair if necessary, or get a box of toys out to keep a child happy whilst they wait.
As the hub of the clinic, patient service advisors are experts at appearing cool calm and collected, even if the reality is that we are usually juggling at least half a dozen other things to do when we are asked to do something else. Hopefully we make everyone feel that their request is the only important one at the time – at least that’s what we try to do!
We are here for our patients first and foremost, and of course, when a patient asks, we make a smashing cup of tea!