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All-Time Top 10 Questions: What Patients, Referring Physicians and Payors Want to Know Most

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Red dice with "F" "A" "Q" letters on itIn our work with clients across the United States, we often help medical providers understand what their primary constituencies need and want. A starting point for a provider group for instance, would be an exercise in discovering what patients, referring physicians and payors want to know.

And when you recognize the questions of these groups—what is of critical concern to them—a specialty or subspecialty provider is better prepared to position itself as having and providing the answers.

Based on our years of experience, we’ve created three All-Time Top 10 lists that will apply to almost any specialty or multi-specialty situation.

Top 10 Questions Patients Want To Know

  1. Do you have or do what matters most to me (or my family member)?
  2. Has a friend, relative or co-worker been your patient (or know someone who has) and told me good things about their experience with you?
  3. Do you participate as providers in my (the patient’s) health plan?
  4. Can I get in for an appointment quickly if necessary?
  5. Is it hard to reach you when I call?
  6. Do you provide better/more proof for claims of superior care?
  7. Have I heard of you in the media and do I remember anything that’s special to me?
  8. Do you seem to really care about me when I call and when I come in?
  9. How well do you help me understand what’s really happening to me?
  10. Can I trust you?

Top 10 Questions Referring Physicians (and their staff) Want to Know

  1. Can you get my patient in quickly if the patient needs to be seen ASAP?
  2. Do you participate in all of the major health insurance plans represented in my patient base?
  3. Can my clinical or administrative staff easily reach one of your administrative staff members when they have a question about scheduling, patient insurance or pre-authorization?
  4. Can my clinical staff easily reach one of your clinical staff when we have clinical questions or issues regarding our patients?
  5. Do I know you personally (preferred) or at least by reputation?
  6. Have you taken good care of our patients if we have referred to you previously?
  7. Do you provide timely reports on each patient we refer to you (without and before we have to ask you)?
  8. Can I trust you to not make me look bad or question my clinical care?
  9. Can I trust you to return our patients to us after completion of care?
  10. Do you or will you keep me updated on important issues I need to know to provide better care for our patients?

Top 10 Questions Payors Want to Know

  1. Are your providers on our plans?
  2. Does it cost less for our patients to be seen by you than elsewhere?
  3. Can we pay you even less?
  4. Do we/will we get many complaints from plan members about your care?
  5. Can we pay you even s-l-o-w-e-r?
  6. Is your patient documentation thorough and complete?
  7. Can we pay you even less AND slower?
  8. Can our members get quick appointments when necessary?
  9. Do you over-treat in our actuarial comparisons? (Not applicable to capitated plans)
  10. Can we not pay you at all?

These are the issues that we find most often, and you can probably resonate to most of them. But we also welcome your comments. What would you add to our all-time lists?

Lonnie Hirsch

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