Faye Sealey – Clinic Manager – Dr Roze & Associates Dental Clinic

Measuring patient experience and satisfaction can be a challenge because really, how can you judge the quality of your patient service level? Older used method by the healthcare industry included;

  • Observing employees – this method has not proven to be the most effective, as when an employee is being watched by a line manager, of course they will be on their best behaviour.
  • Asking the employee – they will not tell you that they are doing a bad job, this given you bias answers.
  • Patient feedback – Patients may give you feedback, but they may not focus on relevant issues, unless you specifically ask them, but also they may fear to give negative comments, if they have been asked personally to give feedback.

In other service sectors such as retail there is one method which has proven a huge success resulting in excellent customer service level and in turn increased profitability of the business. This method is called ‘Mystery Customer’, so why can’t we implement this in the healthcare industry……there is no reason why not!

Introducing a mystery patient in to your practice is the missing link you have been searching for in your patient journey.

What are the benefits of a mystery patient?

  • No one on the inside of your business can give you the perspective a mystery patient brings
  • Your team do not know who, what or when the patient will be coming into your practice, therefore they can provide you with a UNBIASED view of your service level
  • You can fully understand what the ‘first impression’ of your practice is
  • You can check compliance of your front of house team
  • When your team are aware of a mystery patient programme, it creates an even higher caliber of performance.

Using a Mystery Patients provides insight into how employees are interacting with customers. It can be difficult to know how employees conduct themselves when a manager or supervisor is not around, and as a clinic manager myself, utilizing this method of evaluating patient experience gave me the reassurance that my team was offering the high quality of service whether I was there or not.

Mystery patients are tasked with interacting with specific employees whether it be your clinicians, nurses, reception etc. and the best part, you can be provided with the names of the people, they interacted with and also  . This helps to ensure that all of a practices employees are conducting themselves in the right way from the moment of booking an appointment to paying at the cashier, that they are giving the customer the best experience possible.

And finally, the results which come from your mystery patient report can guide you on implementation or improvements in your training process by identifying areas where employees lack skills or competency.