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Who's guarding the Gate to your Rheumatologist?

Who's guarding the Gate to your Rheumatologist?

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

About 10 years ago, I was listening to a talk by a senior rheumatologist on setting up practice.

One sage advice was to employ one of these:

A fierce, loyal secretary who could protect and defend you from the masses. A person who could screen the calls and the patient complaints/questions. Someone to make your day easier.

Sounded great.

When I looked around, many specialists that I had contact with had one of these. This person could be nice but many a patient had also experienced a grumpier, fiercer, more curt side (apologies to those specialists or administrative staff reading this & taking some offence!).

So we took a different approach and our clinic's administrative staff have been a different breed.

Our frontline. The Office of First Impressions.

Incredibly resilient, always trying to be polite and patient-focussed. There are many times that reception is bombarded with patients waiting, phones ringing, and doctors demanding.

When patients are unhappy, the front desk cops it.

When doctors are grumpy, the front desk knows it.

They do their job, as quickly and efficiently as they can, and continue to smile through it.

Their role is to help connect all aspects of our patient's journey, from making an appointment to the time the patient walks into our clinic, the treating health professional's room then out again. They try very hard to make this journey as easy and streamlined as possible, given the complexities & unpredictability of health and healthcare.

It's not an easy job and I write this as a thank you to them all.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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