Who are you?

Every business has a “who-are-you” moment. It is when the guest’s first impressions are confirmed.  It is an opportunity to express your form of radical hospitality or a cold shoulder.

The “who-are-you” sign-in experience is rapidly changing in healthcare.  This is in large part due to the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) mandate.  A recent series of healthcare encounters illustrates this transition.  Not long ago, you would show up at the healthcare site, sign-in on a clipboard, be handed another clipboard with several pages to complete … and then you would wait to be called into the sacred portal of the inner office.

It still works that way at one of my recent appointments.  This practice has seen me annually for at least a decade, but I had to complete the exact same forms I completed on my first visit.  Even stranger was the call-back moment.  I was the only person in the waiting area yet my name was announced from the inner office door as if the room was packed. I actually looked around to see if I had missed a waiting room companion.

My second “who-are-you” encounter was much different.  A call to make the appointment led to an email with a link to all the registration forms.  These were quickly filled in with a higher degree of accuracy since I could look up the requested information.  (Does anyone memorize phone numbers any more?) When I arrived for my appointment, my completed forms were handed over for my review/signature.  Moments later I was approached in the fairly crowded waiting room and told they were ready for me.  How did they know me in the crowd?  When I signed the forms, the receptionist had made a quick note of what I had been wearing.  Cool idea.

Electronic Patient Check-In

My third encounter was as an observer at a local orthodontic practice. Their patients (mostly under 15) could not wait for the “who-are-you” moment.  Upon entering the practice, each young patient strode up to the counter and placed a finger on a sign-in pad.  Almost instantly a photo of the patient appeared asking, “Is this you?”  It was that simple … and that cool.  Patients can change their photos on request as hairstyles or fashions change.  Recognition for the call-back moment was simple … look at the patient photo and find the match.  When I asked about set-up time, this practice makes the photo and finger-recognition process a highlight of the first appointment.  Sure beats filling in the clipboard forms.

  • What is the who-are-you experience in your business?
  • How could you make it better?