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Acupuncture Today – April, 2001, Vol. 02, Issue 04

The WOW Factor

By Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large

In the last few weeks, I have had several encounters with Western medicine. While I am grateful that these encounters happened to someone else, I have undergone an experience just the same.

While going through these experiences, I decided to use my powers of observation to see what parts of Western medicine seem to work well, and why.

The first thing I noticed was that not all medical facilities are the same. They may perform the same procedures, but definitely not with the same levels of concern and service. A hospital bed is not a hospital bed is not a hospital bed; a nurse by any other name is certainly not a nurse.

Just a week ago, I was walking down the halls of a large local hospital. I had just gotten off the elevator and was trying to follow the signs to a specific department. I must have looked a little lost and confused, because a pleasant, well-dressed gentleman appeared and asked if he could help.

I told the man which department I was looking for. He not only pointed me in the right direction, he escorted me all the way down the hall to the department. Along the way, he introduced us to some of the personnel who staffed the department. Eventually, I asked the man what his name was and what his job was at the hospital. To my surprise, he introduced himself as the CEO of the facility.

As the day wore on, I found that everyone in the building seemed to show the same concern and friendliness, and paid the same attention to detail and service. Even though we spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital that day, it was one of the more friendly experiences I have had. Everyone who crossed my path that day seemed very happy to be there, and to be of service. Even during stressful times, the mood was light and supportive.

How can a large facility like a hospital achieve this atmosphere of friendly service? It begins at the top, with the CEO leading by example. His hospital strives to provide the best equipment and facilities available for both doctors and patients. He strives to make it a convenient, streamlined, first-class operation. His staff is well-trained and wants to be helpful. This sounds like a blueprint for success.

After my experience at the hospital was over, I began thinking how the CEO's blueprint could apply in a smaller complementary practice. Look at your practice. Is it fully staffed? Does the staff provide the best service possible? Is it convenient for patients to locate and arrive at your clinic? And is there ample space for your patients to park and walk to your office?

I remember visiting an acupuncture office not long ago. The office was located in a professional building, and the acupuncturist's suite was allocated just one space. The acupuncturist herself often parked in the designated space; when I asked her where her patients parked, she replied "Wherever they can find a space." There's one factor that can easily limit a practice from growing.

What is a patient's typical experience like at your office? Is the service prompt and cheerful? Does your office sparkle? Is the staff friendly?

With the increased interest from the field of Western medicine, we must put our best foot forward. It is no longer good enough just to be a good doctor. This is simply accepted as fact. To truly succeed, you must have a fine facility, and you must be a good marketer.

My next step in this recent adventure into the world of Western medicine was a visit to an orthopedist's office. The wait was long, but the magazines took some of the boredom away. When the doctor finally did come in, he was friendly and upbeat, and he introduced us to the "WOW" factor.

I have neither the time nor the space to describe the WOW factor in too much detail. You can spell out the words as you'd like, but personally, after my visit to the orthopedist, I think they stand for "Wonderfully Outstanding Work."

When was the last time the WOW factor was seen and heard in your office? Do you give your patients that extra boost with the WOW factor? When did you last get excited about the wonders of Oriental medicine?

Many times, providers become complacent to the little miracles that happen every day in practice. WOW is that intangible factor that keeps people enthused and moving forward. So be enthusiastic; act enthusiastically; and feel the WOW factor.

Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.

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