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The Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa Patient Experience: The Medical Assistant Perspective

As a clinic and a patient care team, there are multiple things we are all passionate about, one of the most important being the “patient experience”. This is the one thing that I am most passionate about. I believe that the overall experience our patients have in the office is what really sets the tone for them to have a successful outcome and to be thoroughly satisfied with the care they receive.  

From the moment you walk through our doors as a patient, until the moment you walk back out with a smile, I am dedicated to ensuring you have the best possible outcome. When you walk through our doors, you will be greeted with a smile and hello from Rachel, our front desk specialist. Most people describe her as a “breath of fresh air”. She is always willing to go above and beyond for all of our patients. While you are waiting in our waiting area, there are multiple different education opportunities. We have an in-depth educational video on the Lapiplasty® procedure for bunion correction, which our doctors were instrumental in researching and developing; as well educational posters and pamphlets/brochures. When Stephanie or I, the medical assistants, call you back to be roomed we promise to have a smile on our face and a warm welcoming “how are you” to follow. We both strive to make this experience the best possible as we understand that feeling cared for and confident in the medical team can help lead to compliance with instructions and a better outcome for you as a patient, which is the ultimate reason we are here. We take great pride in explaining the process and strive to be detailed in obtaining the health history, as that plays a key role in diagnosis and treatment.  Once Stephanie or I leave the exam room, we educate the physician you will be seeing on your health and the ailment that brings you in.  As a team, the treatment plan is starting to be developed as the doctor may have an indication of testing or imaging that may be needed, or anticipate a procedure and we can start prepping to make the most efficient use of your time as a patient.

Once the physician is done with the examination and discussing the diagnosis and plan with you, Stephanie or I will work to complete anything else that is needed, such as fitting you with a brace or orthotics, or scheduling any needed testing. We are here to answer any other questions you may have on next steps in care, or processes that will be followed, such as for scheduling surgery.  We realize that even though you may ask many questions of the physicians when they are in the room and our doctors really take the time to explain everything, there may be questions that pop up once they leave or things you need clarification on.  We want to make sure that you ask us!  We are here for you and want to make sure you fully understand your diagnosis, treatment plan and next steps.  Many questions we can answer for you, and if we can’t we will find out the answer for you from the physician or another team member.  We believe in the mantra that no question is a stupid question!  We understand that you are having pain or concerns that bring you in and often times the diagnosis and treatment plan can seem scary or overwhelming and we are here to help ease your concerns and answer your questions.

I firmly believe that the idea of the patient experience is to ensure that as a patient, you leave educated and empowered; not only given solutions to fix your ailment but also educated to help prevent it in the future. We want you, as our patient, to leave with a clear game plan in place, confidence that you know what you need to do, and a smile on your face.  

Author
Tiffany Rangel, MA, PRT

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