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3525 Prytania St, Suite 614 - New Orleans, LA 70115 - 504-891-8454

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"You have turned my life around"
 

I am 87 years old, with a problem of the prostate gland. Before I met Dr. Baum, I went to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes. After Dr. Baum's treatment on my prostate, I go only 5 times per day and only 1 time at night! You turned my life around. I am so very grateful!

-Sidney Daigle


I want to thank you for your due diligence. You saved my life. I highly recommend you!

-Dwight Bastian


Thank you Dr. Baum! Because of you I'm back in the "rodeo"!

-Gerald Wallace

 


Several years ago I was more than 45 minutes late to see a patient who also happened to be a good friend. When I came into the exam room he was livid and said to me, "Neil, would you go to a physician like you? " Not getting the drift of his question, I asked him, "What do you mean?" He said, "I mean would you go to a doctor who keeps a patient waiting for 45 minutes for a routine appointment?" I said that I wouldn't like waiting for the doctor. He told me that he didn't appreciate it either and said that he wanted a copy of his records and was going to take his urologic care elsewhere with a doctor who respected his time. No matter how many apologies I offered and promises to not be late again, his mind was made up and he left the practice for a new physician. I was devastated and made a decision that I was not going to let this happen again and was going to develop a patient-centric practice.

I began by developing a moments of truth (MOT) analysis. I identified those interactions between the practice and our patients and made an effort to make those interactions as positive as possible for the patients. The first moment of truth is not when the doctor is eyeball to eyeball with the patient. Rather it is usually the telephone. That is where most patients develop their first impression of the practice. We now have a script in front of each phone that asks the receptionist to smile and be enthusiastic as the smile can be heard on the other end of the line. In order to encourage the receptionist to smile, we have placed a small mirror in front of the phone so that the receptionist can receive feedback that shehe is indeed smiling. The receptionist identifies the practice and then gives herhis name as there should be no anonymity and each caller wants to know to whom they are speaking. Finally, the receptionist makes an effort to personalize the call by using the callers name at least twice during the conversation. After all, the most important word in the human language to each and every one of us is the sound of our own name.

The next moment of truth is the welcome to the practice package. This contains the practice brochure, a map to office and suggestions for parking, the website address, and a letter from the physician and the office manager. This letter emphasizes the importantance of obtaining authorization from their PCP and failure to have this authorization will significantly delay their visit at the office. We also ask them to complete their demographic form and their health questionnaire prior to their visit. The receptionist makes an effort to find out the purpose of the visit and will include educational material related to the reason the patient is seeking an appointment. For example, if the patient is referred by a PCP for an elevated PSA level, we include information about PSA testing which also discusses freetotal PSA as well as an explanation and indications for an ultrasound and prostate biopsy. Now the patient is educated about their problem prior to their visit. Finally, the letter mentions that they will be asked to give a urine specimen upon arrival in the office and that they should consume extra fluids in order to facilitate this lab test. This avoids the common scenario of patients going to the restroom before they come and having to wait 20-30 minutes for them to hydrate to provide the specimen.

The next MOT is the time spent in the reception area (not the waiting room) and the time in the exam room waiting for the physician. We have made an effort to reduce this to a minimum by doing a time and motion study. We place a form on the front of the chart for every patient for 3-5 days. This form contains the time of the appointment, the time patient was taken to the exam room, the time the patient was seen by the physician and the time the patient left the office. Now we can see exactly what is happening to our patients and initially we found patients were in the office 60-90 minutes and spending 5-7 minutes with the doctor. This was not endearing us to our patients and we made an effort to make some changes to avoid the situation I previously described. For example, we have left an opening of 15-20 minutes every afternoon around 3:00 for urgencies and emergencies. This time slot cannot be filled until after 9:00 A.M. when the office opens. Now, when a referring doctor sends a patient with epididmitis or a ureteral stone, that patient is told to come at 3:00 or the end of the day. This makes it possible to be on time for those patients seen later in the afternoon and, for the most part, we are able to see patients within 20 minutes of their designated appointment time.

New patients taken to the exam room will watch a 5-7 minute video of the practice that introduces the doctor and the office staff. This way the patient is able to meet the physician and other staff members who are involved in hisher care.

Even after the patient leaves the practice we make an effort to manage the MOTs. The patient again receives a letter from the office manager thanking himher for being a patient and additional educational material is included in the letter.

I find it of interest that the Golden Rule that was given to us more than 2000 years ago still applies to today's delivery of healthcare. All of us need to answer the question, "Would we like to be treated by someone the way we are treating our patients?" If the answer is no, then we have to look at our practices and the way we care for patients from the eyes of our patients and make the necessary changes to give each patient a positive health care experience.