Managing encounters with patients is both an art and a skill. Either you run the encounter or the encounter will run you. This is frequently one of the most difficult skills for new technicians to master. Conflicting Goals?
It seems we have competing interests: On one hand,;we strive to provide a welcoming and friendly demeanor, yet there are real time constraints dictated by appointment templates. Is this a no win situation? I have found there are ways to satisfy both customer service and time constraints.
How to Manage Your Encounter with Finesse
Have you ever worked up a patient who wanted to engage in seemingly endless social conversations? What about the patient who won't stop joking around? A simple yet effective way to get your encounter back on track without offending the patient is to say "Mrs. Smith, the doctor is probably wondering where you are. Let's get finished up so we can get you in to see him." This is TRUE! The doctor probably IS wondering where your patient is. He is probably standing in the back hall looking at his schedule and wondering why he has yet to see Mrs. Smith whose short follow up appointment was 45 minutes ago! The statement will not offend your patient; if anything, it may flatter them... ("Dr. Jones is looking for me and wondering where I am!"). I have used this technique many times over the years and it has worked without fail.
If you don't manage your encounter, it will manage YOU. Take charge (but in a nice way).