Mystery shopping the healthcare industry may strike some as counter-intuitive. Medicine and commerce have traditionally been mutually exclusive endeavors, but as medical practices consolidate and look more and more like regular businesses, patient retention becomes a growing factor.
The era of crotchety doctors and long waits in DMV-esque waiting rooms is drawing to a close, and many healthcare providers have embraced reputable mystery shopping firms as a partner in improving the patient experience. Here is what they are measuring:
Healthcare providers audit the appointment setting process.
Medical offices are typically a beehive of activity, and this is often reflected in the poor quality of the phone conversations we have with receptionists and other staff. Mystery shoppers are most often asked to audit the following, when calling to set an appointment with a medical practice:
Was the staffer courteous and helpful?
Did the staffer gather the required patient information?
Did the staffer ask how the caller learned of the practice?
Did the staffer tell the patient what to expect at the visit?
Did the staffer offer directions to the office? Did the staffer confirm the appointment details?
A good firm will ensure all calls are recorded so the client can hear how the call went.
Hidden video is becoming more prevalent for healthcare mystery shoppping, and gives an objective diagnosis of how your office is performing.
Healthcare providers audit the office visit.
Once the patient arrives at the office, there are many things that can affect the quality of the visit. Mystery shoppers audit everything from parking lot to the office and back. Here are the most commonly audited aspects of a medical visit:
How difficult was it to find the office?
How was the patient greeted?
How long was the check-in process?
Were the appropriate forms completed?
What was the wait time?
What was the condition of the waiting room?
How long did the patient wait in the examining room?
Were nurses and doctors friendly?
Did the doctor follow procedure in explaining the diagnosis?
Were options given?
Reputable firms offer mystery shops in the following types of healthcare practices:
Immediate care clinics
Cosmetic Surgery practices
There is a trend towards using independent contractors in many of the settings listed above. It is especially important to audit these situations, as there may not be as strong an allegiance from hired guns than from permanent full-time employees.