Ten Step Process for Managing Patient Complaints

October 13, 2016

Training Staff to navigate the often uncertain terrain of financial communications is a challenge in itself.  How do you prepare and train your staff for what may sometimes turn into a rather heated discussion?


First, acknowledge that such discussions are only inevitable, especially if a patient or caregiver is overwhelmed by a newly diagnosed medical condition and they are feeling put off guard.  Add to that the cumbersome task of finding health benefit information and it can easily escalate into a tense situation.

Susan Keane Baker suggests the following "Ten Step Process" in her book entitled Managing Patient Expectations: The Art of Finding and Keeping Loyal Patients:


  1. Watch for nonverbal clues of dissatisfaction.

  2. Focus on the problem, not the patient’s personality.

  3. Recognize that the patient might be right.

  4. Listen to the entire story, without interruption.

  5. Demonstrate empathy.

  6. Find some area of agreement.

  7. Treat the patient as an individual.

  8. Commit to take action.

  9. Be clear about who will do what next.

  10. Assure the patient of your desire for an ongoing relationship.

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