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Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Question from the Road: Five-Star and Anonymous Docs?

April 28, 2011Doug Wojcieszak, Founder & Spokesperson Contact phone/e-mail address: 618-559-8168;

QUESTION FROM THE ROAD: FIVE-STAR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND "ANONYMOUS" DOCS After a recent Sorry Works! presentation I was asked the following by a radiologist:

"You know, Doug, as a radiologist I don't have the chance to build a long-term relationship pre-event with a patient or family like, say, a pediatrician or OB/GYN usually how does this Five-Star stuff relate to me?"

Good question!

To offer some background, whenever I give a Sorry Works! presentation I generally spend a third of the talk discussing pre- event relationship building using Five-Star customer service principles. We want clinicians to build strong, loyal relationships with patients and families pre-event so that IF an event happens, the first step for the patient or family is back to their doctor, the practice, or the hospital. Moreover, by having this strong relationship in place the clinician(s) will look and sound credible when they say "sorry."

This is a sound strategy, except the "behind the scenes" or "anonymous" docs such as radiologists, anesthesiology, etc, sometimes struggle to see how Five-Star relates to them. Indeed, the patient or family might not meet a radiologist until something has gone wrong, and well it's just too late to build a relationship, right?

Not necessarily!

Obviously, the more face time pre-event, the better. But, I really encourage these so-called "anonymous" docs to think of the great customer service examples: Southwest Airlines, Disney, Ritz, etc. We don't have a lot of time to get to know the flight attendant on the Southwest flight or the kid at the concession stand in Orlando, but we like them. Why? The smile on their face. Their helpful attitude. Their body language. How they own our problems and own them until they are resolved or put with another team member who can resolve them. How they get down to my level, if even it literally means sitting or stooping down. And so on. Folks in these jobs only have a few seconds to make a good impression, but they do it well. We need to be able to say the same about our "anonymous" docs, especially when an adverse event happens. A few seconds to connect with an upset patient or family --- better do it well!

However, we just can't hope docs and nurses can pull off Five-Star because the hospital CEO says its a priority. All docs and nurses need to be trained on Five-Star principles....because most didn't learn it in medical school and nursing school! We need to teach them. And Sorry Works! can help with Five-Star training - call 618- 559-8168 or e-mail us at


- Doug

Doug Wojcieszak, Founder Sorry Works! 618-559-8168 (direct dial) PO Box 531 Glen Carbon, IL 62034