I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

Managing Every Day Complaints in Health Care

Posted by

I recently surveyed administrative and clinical team members at a family health team and discovered the top 5 issues that lead patients or families to complain where the conversation can get heated:

  1. Being told they cannot receive test results over the phone for a family member without the patient’s consent
  2. Long wait times
  3. Not being able to receive a copy of a health record immediately
  4. Being asked to mask when they arrive with a cough or other symptoms of a communicable disease
  5. Being asked to pay an extra fee for non-insured services

Sound familiar?

One team member said she gets yelled at on a daily basis by patients and families.

How should family health teams respond to complaints?

Here are a few key thoughts:

First, prevention. Family health teams should look at the most common issues that underlie patient and family complaints in their office and consider ways to proactively address those issues.  Many times communication goes a long way to preventing blow ups.  For example:

  • Prompt patients to let you know where to leave a message about test results and with whom the results can be shared
  • Notify people upon arrival if there is an extra long wait or how long they can expect to wait
  • Explain how patients can have a copy of their record and how long it will take
  • Anticipate that patients who have to mask have no idea how to mask – show them how – and then address their natural instinct to want to remove their mask because they are hot or uncomfortable and how to keep it on
  • Explain extra fees in a brochure

Second, mindset. When someone raises a concern, a natural inclination is to deflect or defend.  A starting point is “mindset”.  Mantras can help here:

  • This is not about me
  • I am calm and open-minded

Third, listen. Let the person tell you what happened – without interrupting.

Fourth, respond: acknowledge, empathize, relate. Focus on their feelings.

Fifth, ask for their input into a solution: “what would be helpful to you”?

Interested in team training to practice these tips and responses? Give me a call.

 


If you enjoyed this article please share it:


Previous and next posts from Kate:

Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
October 16, October 24 and November 21

For Primary Care clinics, Children’s Aid and FHTs

Kate trains health professionals from many more primary care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

Speaking event October 23, 2019

Osgoode Professional Development – Mental health Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

Primary care webinars: Managing Incapacity & Consent to Treatment

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our October webinar is about managing incapacity, and the November title is Consent to Treatment.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training
December 10, 2019

For experienced Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

This one day training course focuses on how to handle difficult privacy situations using real-life (but anonymized) case studies and role-play. Full details and registration here...

Privacy Officer training
January 20 & 27 and February 3,10 & 18, 2020

Kate is the program chair for the Osgoode Certificate in Privacy in Healthcare.

This program explores the range of privacy interests that must be protected in the day-to-day treatment of patients, the development of information systems and the creation of institutional policies. More details...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
October 2, November 6 and December 4

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

Subscribe to my mailing list and keep up to date with news:

Latest Tweets

Webinar recording available! Topics covered: - Health privacy law update - When do children make their own informat… https://t.co/VSlNzPyXiy

about 23 hours ago

The main message: A doctor (or any other health information custodian) should never ignore a patient’s access reque… https://t.co/HW8mrFymnC

12:01 PM Oct 13th

What happens when someone asks for access to recordings? It depends. Here’s a story about what might happen.… https://t.co/kRnDh5IOo2

12:01 PM Oct 12th

contact details

901 King Street West Suite 400 East Tower
Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

.