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A recent visit to the doctor’s office…

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the office of my daughter’s doctor for her annual sports physical.  The office opened at 9:00, and we were scheduled for 9:20.  We arrived about 9:15 and were greeted with the usual ‘Have there been any changes in your insurance?’ question.  I then began filling out the obligatory paperwork, which I seem to fill out every time we visit.  Every time.  We sat patiently in the waiting room and were called back at about 9:45 for the standard triage, weight, blood pressure, height, etc.  The doctor came in promptly at 10:10, and after looking at my daughters ears, throat, listening to her heart, and a few general questions about how she feels, and after paying a copay we were on our way by. 10:45.  Another great visit…

Except that it wasn’t great.  It was yet another customer service nightmare by most other industry standards.  Why is it that we weren’t greeted with a friendly hello, how can I help you?  Why did I have to fill out the same reams of  paperwork I’ve filled out several times before?  Why weren’t we called in when scheduled?  Why weren’t we told they were running behind?  How can they be 25 minutes behind 20 minutes after opening?  Not to mention the fact that they close for an hour during lunch, which fortunately we didn’t run up against today.

Not to get into politics, but there is obviously a lot of debate on the passed National Health Care plan, or as I’ve heard it referred to ‘Obamacare’.  I think it’s supposed to make health care more efficient and accessible to more people.  I have to admit, I don’t know enough about it to really speak out for or against it, but I generally don’t like the government mandating what I have to do.  With that said, given my experience every time I visit a doctor, I think mandating a government solution to our nations health care woes is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too premature.

This ‘industry’ is so amazingly inefficient and completely out of touch with reality that I believe it’s un-fixable in its current form.  What other customer service industry doesn’t greet its customers when they come in?  What other business generates needless paperwork for their customers to fill out, when they already have the information?  What other business expects their customers to wait as a normal course of business, despite appointment times?  What other business closes for lunch?!?  Can you imagine going to Target, or the bank, or anywhere, only to find a sign saying they’ll be back in 45 minutes?  And what other business doesn’t provide you with an itemized bill when you’ve had a service done?  (Aside from the government, of course.  But that’s a different topic entirely…)

In my opinion, the medical industry needs to bring itself out of its arrogant, self-serving haze and enter the modern business era.  Treat customers, insurance carrying or not, like, well, customers.  We’re choosing to spend our insurance money in their office instead of someone else’s, show some appreciation and respect for that!  Make realistic schedules and stick to them.  If you’re running late, apologize and tell your customers when you’ll be able to help them.  Be available for your customers when it’s convenient for them, not you.  And give them a bill detailing the charges for everything that was performed, regardless of what they  ‘paid’!

No solution to fix health care, government mandated or not, will work without the medical industry fixing itself first.

Categories: Rants... Tags: ,