When you check into a hotel room, what is usually sitting on the desk? A guide to the hotel. It lists what services are available and when they are available. It describes where the hotel is located relative to the highway and the airport. It contains information about the phone and TV and radio, pool and fitness center, and how to use the wireless connection. And most importantly, it tells you how to contact the people who can help you with reservations, housekeeping, room service, and wake-up calls.
The services the average hotel offers are no less complex than the services offered to patients and their families in the average physician practice, though the goal is obviously very different. Are patients and families provided with such a guide when they receive care at your practice?
We have created three resources that medical home practices can use to create a simple guide for their patients. Such a guide will give your patients and their families the information they need on how to make an appointment, how to contact the doctor or the team, whom to discuss financial matters with, whom to call for problems in the middle of the night, and how referrals and lab reports are handled.
The three resources are:
A. A list of the elements that constitute a basic guide.
B. A sample guide, “Welcome to Grove Street Practice” illustrates what a finished guide might look like.
C. A sample “fill-in-the-blank” template so you can design your own guide.
A concerted effort by practices and clinics to provide this information early and often to every patient in the form of a pamphlet provided at every visit, available in the waiting room and posted on practice websites would be welcomed by most patients.
Resources to help people find good health care and make the most of it.