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    Avoiding problem patients


    Red Flags

    Red flags include people who have had lots of prior providers and haven’t been happy with any of them.

    “There are some good patients who have had a bad outcome and need to be corrected, and that's one thing. But typically patients who are continually complaining about other providers… are indicative of somebody who is not going to be happy with you,” he says.

    Another potential clue that someone is going to be more trouble than they’re worth: scheduling is nearly impossible. If they never seem to be available, ask to come in after hours and complain about the time it’ll take them to come in for a consult, it raises the red “diva” flag and could mean more trouble down the road, according to Thiersch.

    Chances are that patients who are rude to the desk staff, demanding and are continually questioning pricing and a doctor’s worth will also wreak havoc in the practice.

    “A lot of this seems self-evident, but it’s much, much easier for me to say it than for me to actually pick it up in practice because many of these patients are going to be very nice, very personable,” he says. “You really need to learn to take your time and have your staff take their time in the consult, to look deeper than just what’s going on on the outside.”

    NEXT: Just Say No

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...


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