A patient presents to your office for minor surgery which will be performed in your mini-surgical suite within your office.  She is anxious and looking around while awaiting her turn.  Pre and post op instructions have been given as well as a lengthy description of the procedure, risks and what to expect.

You have been diligent about every detail and pride yourself on your care and caring.  But have you?

First Scenario

The patient is nervous and is looking furtively around while waiting.  She sees stained seat cushions and one or two that are ripped.  The decor was fashionable in the late 80s but has not been decorated since.

Your rationale for not redoing the waiting room- because of mostly 3rd party reimbursement, you are getting by on only a slim margin.  Patients are there because they are covered by the insurance program that you accept.  The state of the waiting room is partially due to the inconsideration of the patients and the unruly children that they have not controlled.

Patient’s rationale– maybe I should give some feeble excuse and run before I am called and before it’s too late.  I was recommended to this doctor because of excellent skills and knowledge.  But if the waiting room is unsanitary, maybe the surgical room or surgical instruments are not cared for or unsanitary as well.  Maybe if the doctor doesn’t pay attention to office details then he doesn’t take care of medical details either.

Granted, many private practices are scrounging for the money to make ends meet and still turn a profit.  Granted, too, the state of the waiting room probably doesn’t realistically speak for the medical or surgical skills of the doctor.  But this is the perception or brand that you are putting out there.  Is this the impression that you hope to impart?

Second Scenario

The patient is ushered into a private waiting area and a medical assistant enters the room to go over any last questions that the patient may have.  Reassurance is given and the latest magazines are offered.  The remote is offered to her and she gets to watch her favorite television programs to distract her from her tension.  As she waits, she looks around admiringly at the decor which is classic but timeless.

Patient’s thoughts- if the doctor takes such great attention to detail in the office, he must take great pains to notice everything.  If he wants me to be comfortable now, he is probably very empathetic and will make sure that I am comfortable throughout my whole ordeal.

Your surgical skills may be the same in both scenarios and the surgical suite may be the same as well.  The image that your office portrays about you however is vastly different and speaks volumes about who you are and your brand.

Consider this when building your brand and strengthening it.  Your brand is your medical practice, your healthcare delivery and you.

Have you been subject to this situation?  Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below.