We’ve Been Expecting You

Simple enough, right? But there’s power in those four words!

I recently traveled to Memphis for work and when I checked into my hotel (the Marriott Memphis), it was late and I was ready to get to my room.

The host checked me in saying, “Good evening sir, may I have your last name please?”

“Sure,” I replied. “It’s Poore, P-O-O-R-E.”

(smiling) “Oh, Mr. Poore, we’ve been expecting you!

Boom. Such a simple and easy way to make someone feel welcomed.

Why can’t we do this for patients?

With the exception of emergencies, most medical care facilities know exactly which patients will be coming in that day — just like hotels do. 

In fact, the check-in staff generally has a digital or printed list along with patient records all queued up for the care team. So why not print this list of names (removing all medical information of course) and give it to the valet parking team, the front-desk or (if it’s a larger facility) the information desk, or the security team so they can personally welcome people who come to them to park their car, ask for directions, or check in?

Non-clinical employees are in a unique position to make a meaningful connection with patients. Why? Because they are often the very first and last people patients encounter. People typically remember the first and last moments of an interaction. Care team members in non-clinical positions have the power to set the tone for the entire experience based on how well they connect with patients in these moments before and after the clinical visit.

Patients are often scared and uncomfortable in a clinical setting. It can be daunting, especially if they’re worried about an upcoming test or procedure. Now consider how their anxiety levels might rise if they’re at a building or facility they’ve never been to before. Where do they park? Where do they enter? Which hallways do they follow to get to your office? Are they running late? Patient stress levels are through the roof and they haven’t even seen their doctor or nurse yet!

Try Using These Four Words: We’ve Been Expecting You

When the care team says we’ve been expecting you  — especially those care team members at key touchpoints on the patient journey like the valet parking attendant, the security guard, the information desk team, etc. — it makes people feel welcomed. This simple human connection can help ease patients’ minds (if only for a little while) and can help set the stage for a good experience for when they eventually see the doctor or nurse.

Give it a try. And better yet, teach your frontline staff to use it with every patient and see how the whole experience is transformed.