A welcoming environment, friendly smiles and your own personal care team – that is how we treat people, not symptoms. For a UT Health Austin patient, often, the first member of that care team is the Concierge staff. Dressed in bright teal shirts and armed with a wealth of knowledge and empathy, the group welcomes and assists patients every day. They guide patients to their appointments, help them with intake forms, answer questions about the practice and even help non-UT Health Austin patients get to where they need to go.
Marie Dunham, Director of Access, says,”the concierge are vital to setting the tone of a patient’s visit, whether it’s their first visit or their fifth – it’s our job to make them feel at ease and in a place of comfort, not confusion. They (the concierge) have their pulse on what is working for our patients and what we need to change or improve to make future visits better. We turn to them for honest feedback about our processes.”
Acting as the liaison between the patient and the practice, the concierge staff is proud to say they do not just answer questions, they go beyond the scope of their “job” to make patients feel at ease. “A lot of our patients come in and they are in pain and we want to help them. Many of our patients comment on how cared for they feel; they are amazed at the level of care they received from the moment they walked in the door until they left, “ says Giovanna “Gio” Alanis-Vega, Patient Concierge Lead and MBA student.
UT Health Austin concierge staff provide assistance in many ways, such as:
- Adding change to street meters for patients;
- Helping patients navigate the café payment system;
- Walking patients, not just pointing them, to appointments on a different floor even if their visit is with non-UT Health Austin provider;
- Taking the time to explain the check-in and intake process for each patient so that they fully understand forms they are completing and signing.
Many of the concierge are students at UT Austin; all are bilingual and passionate about helping others. They are true champions of compassion, making every patient feel unique, and cared for while they are here. Celina Patino, Patient Concierge Lead, summed it up best, “We have a purpose – we’re not here for just a job – we’re here to help, so that makes it easy to go above and beyond for people.”