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The Growth of Medical Mystery Shopping

The mystery shopping industry tends to get pigeon-holed as useful for restaurants and retails stores only. Sometimes it’s easier to think of it this way: Mystery shopping can be beneficial to any business where customer service is essential to growth and success.

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...
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Chances are, that’s every business you can think of. So why should we be surprised that health care professionals are hiring mystery shopping companies to understand the patient experience? After all, aren’t they in the business of making us feel better?

However, as we all know, the road to feeling better doesn’t always run smooth when it comes to doctors’ offices. Chances are, when you call in to your family practitioner to make an appointment, you’re on hold for an interminable amount of time. And two months later, when you arrive promptly at your appointment, you’re met with more waiting. After filling out a phonebook of paperwork, your name is called and you are led back into a room. . . for more waiting.

Most of us would agree that the experiences we have at the doctor’s office could be improved upon. Wouldn’t you like to know, then, that health care professionals are being proactive about bettering this process?

We’re seeing more and more hospitals and private practices hiring mystery shopping companies to fine-tune the patient experience and gain an advantage against their competitors. In a medical mystery shop, trained, secret shopper ‘patients’ provide feedback about physician performance in a clinical setting. Here are some of the things they might look for:

  • Impression of front desk employee (phone skills, ease of appointment scheduling, overall attitude and helpfulness)
  • Effectiveness of check-in procedures
  • Cleanliness of office
  • Efficiency of nurses
  • Bed-side manner of doctors
  • Adequacy of time spent with patient

Health care professionals can then analyze the results and start implementing some improvements to the practice. By getting insight into the patient’s point of view and how its employees perform, hospitals and private practices can proactively make the necessary changes to give their patients the best care they can.

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