Using these 2 acronyms daily in your ophthalmic practice can deliver good service

Mike Lyons, PHR, MHRIR, and Megan Odell, BHA, MHHR, with Austin Retina Associates, outline how to implement the GREAT and the LEAP method for an improved employee and patient experience.

Video transcript

Note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Mike Lyons, PHR, MHRIR: My name is Mike Lyons. I'm from Austin Retina Associates where I am the Director of Human Resources.

Megan Odell, BHA, MHHR: And I am Megan Odell, the Director of Patient Experience at Austin Retton Associates. We are excited to be at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and specifically speaking to practice executives on employee culture and best practices for bringing on new staff and how to have a great employee and patient experience.

We'll share two of our secret tips. There are two acronyms we teach to our teams on how to deliver good service. It is the GREAT acronym for good service and the LEAP acronym for when you have conflict. I'll let Mike start with the GREAT acronym.

Lyons: Sure, so GREAT starts with the letter G and that means greeting. So greeting your patients is really key with customer service, and also applies to leaders as well. Greeting your staff every day, it's just a free, low-cost thing to do to create trust and safety on your team. Greeting is just super important.

R stands for reassure. This is really all about taking care of the emotional needs of the patient, or the employee and just kind of reassuring them about whatever questions they may have. Our patients come into our clinics for a lot of different things. And they are going to be really concerned about paying for the appointment or what could happen to them medically. And so reassuring them that they're in very good hands is important.

E stands for explain. And a lot of things happen in a medical appointment. And it's important for us to explain what is about to happen, explain their diagnosis. And for leaders, we need to explain to our staff why we're doing things and give transparency about policies and things that we're implementing.

The letter A stands for ask for questions. In a patient care context, this is really key because patients sometimes walk away from that encounter with questions, and they're confused. And they can be intimidated by the physician interaction. So having a physician or a technician sit down with them and say: 'What questions do you have?' is helpful to help prevent any confusion and to make sure we resolve those questions that do arise.

And then the letter T stands for tell what's next. We work in a retina clinic. There are many steps in the process. That's probably true for a lot of specialties. Telling the patient what is about to happen is really important because as human beings, we don't like surprises, we want to know what's coming, we want to know what to expect, how long is this next step going to take, what's going to happen. Telling people what's next is super, super key. And that applies for leaders as well. Letting your staff know what to expect. And what's expected of them is also really important.

Megan, I'll turn it over to you to talk about LEAP when things go wrong.

Odell: Using GREAT, we like to remind our teams that they can do that with each other. So just even doing a simple greeting in the morning with your teams and telling them what's going to happen next and what the afternoon looks like in terms of patient volume and complicated cases. We remind them to use that with each other as well as our patients.

The LEAP acronym is when you just can't quite make everyone happy. You know, there's going to be conflict. There's going to be upset patients oftentimes to things that are happening outside our walls.

It starts with listening. And we find that a lot of times when people are upset, they just want to be heard. And so by starting with listening is always really powerful.

The E is for empathy and reminding our teams to be empathetic and trying to put themselves in the patient's shoes. As far as what might be going on or those frustrations or those reassurance, things we talked about that can really, really help de-escalate some conflict.

The A is to apologize. Sometimes we just have to own it. Don't throw your team members under the bus. Own it and just try to get the right solution in place when possible.

And of course, the P is for problem solve. And usually if you do a really good job of the listening and empathizing, you really don't even have to get down to the end of it. But oftentimes, problem solving could just involve, you know, trying to give the patient a choice on a certain procedure type or a certain treatment or a certain appointment time. And sometimes that resolves that conflict by giving them the choice at the end of the day.

Utilizing LEAP can be very helpful in just regular day-to-day relationship interactions, at the grocery store, with your family members at home, or your patients. And so we really love to implement the GREAT and the LEAP method for great customer service. Thank you.

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