If registrar complains, learn this information

Hear from everyone involved

If a registrar complains to Kathleen Bowles, LSW, patient access supervisor at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, she begins by asking these questions: When did the incident take place? What occurred? Who was involved? What was the outcome of the situation?

Next, Bowles takes these steps:

A timeline of events is established.

For example, if a staff member complains about a co-worker's productivity, Bowles wants to know the timeframe in which the co-worker was not being helpful. She researches patient flow and the productivity of all the other staff members in that registration site during that time period, to determine if the workload was unbalanced.

If there were multiple individuals involved in the situation, Bowles sits down with each one separately to obtain their recollection of the incident. 

"By speaking individually with staff members, they may speak more openly regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident," says Bowles.

After speaking with the parties involved, Bowles reviews any additional data to understand more about the situation.

She might need to see reports involving staff schedules, productivity levels, department training, or attendance as part of her investigation.

Bowles informs human resources if the complaint involves possible hospital or department violations or disciplinary actions.

"Situations involving confidentiality concerns are a primary example," says Bowles. "Ensure that all necessary steps are taken to thoroughly investigate the situation."

By involving human resources, staff members realize that you are taking their complaint seriously, says Bowles. "They realize that you are taking all steps possible to be fair and impartial, and that you are investigating the information that you may not have had answers for at the time of your discussion with the employee," she says.

Once Bowles has concluded her investigation, she communicates the results to the involved employees.

To avoid violating staff or patient confidentiality, Bowles stays focused solely on the behavior of the individual with whom she is speaking. "Communicate details on process changes, but not any type of disciplinary action," she advises.