Enhancing the Office Experience for Your Patients

Patients increasingly see themselves as consumers of health care and look to their physician for better, more efficient, and more effective service, according to a report released by Johns Hopkins University and American Healthways.

Defining the Patient-Physician Relationship for the 21st Century suggests that one way to improve the office experience is to communicate better with patients about preauthorizations, referrals, and refills. For example: 

  • When a patient’s health plan requires preauthorizations and/or referrals, the physician or staff should help the patient understand both the process and the origin of the mandate. Otherwise, the patient likely will perceive these systems as barriers to care.
  • Physicians should work with patients to arrange a reasonable and flexible medication refill system. Patients, especially those with well-maintained chronic conditions who require ongoing medication, often find the system unduly burdensome. Doctors should explain to their patients why regular, face-to-face medication reviews are important and work out a flexible system that balances convenience with quality of care.

If you need help accessing the report, contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or knowledge@texmed.org.

Content reviewed: 3/14/2007

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