My first post and hopefully the first of many to come. And no, I’m not as negative as I may sound in this post. But I think, like everything in life, one should first start with defining the problem(s). Plus, I sometimes (read frequently) like to be provocative (read play devil’s advocate).
Open Letter to Healthcare
Why not healthcare? Why can’t you learn from what others outside of healthcare are doing to care about their customers?
Why not learn from the retail industry healthcare? Why is it that my “care pathway” at a women’s lingerie store is thoroughly designed around my needs from start to finish (step 1, triage: do I need to speak to retail consultant?; step 2, diagnosis: what is my need, what will work best for me?; step 3, intervention: which cut/size/model works best?; and step 4, education for future self-care: how to care for my purchases and information about my purchase so as to avoid unnecessary repetition of steps 1-3 in the future) but there is no such “care pathway” when I accompany my grandpa during his discharge at the hospital?
Why not learn from the hospitality industry healthcare? Why is it that I can use a GPS-enabled App to find available tables at restaurants near me with reviews and rankings and all necessary information to get me a reservation at the last minute but I can hardly reach my doctor’s office via phone to schedule even a non-urgent appointment?
Why not learn from the retail banking industry healthcare? Why is it that a little chip on my bankcard knows everything about me, carries the history of my financial transactions and tracks me wherever I use it (I get a call from my bank when I use my card in Morocco to validate it is in fact me who is buying a lantern) but no information about my medical history or utilization of services ever gets stored on or monitored through my health card?
Why not learn from the green energy industry healthcare? Why is it that I can get a tax-return from buying a green home or appliance or a green renovation but there is nothing that incentivizes me to eat healthier or exercise more and I simply cannot afford to eat healthy every day?
Why not learn from the entrepreneurial fashionistas, or celebrity designers or chefs healthcare? Why is it that I can YouTube how to do a smoky eye, how to make hollandaise sauce or upholster my chair, but there are no instructions for me (video/audio/or even text!!!) on how to take care of my health or improve mobility for my ailing grandpa?
Why not learn from the auto service industry healthcare? I am impatient and detest waiting around but when I go for my annual maintenance/check up at my car dealership – which by the way I am reminded of via email – I don’t mind waiting because they tell me in advance how long I would have to wait, they greet me nicely, their waiting room is clean and aesthetically pleasing, and they offer me coffee or water (which I normally don’t take anyways). But when I go to my clinic for an pre-scheduled appointment, I regularly have to wait for a couple hours before seeing my doctor, while having to look at ugly furniture, depressing wall colours and disorganized piles of paper?
Healthcare you have so much going for you!!! I care so much about you and I want you to succeed so badly. I need you, my parents and grandparents need you, and my future kids and grandkids will need you and rely on you for generations to come. Your people have a gazillion degrees and are super smart, hard-working, and mission-oriented. You have money!!! – Don’t say you don’t because you do. Fine you are faced with fiscal, demographic, political challenges and other challenges but you still get a lot of money. You just do not spend it wisely.
Sure you’re going to come up with excuses and say you are a lot more complex than the industries I mentioned above. But I don’t care about your excuses healthcare. I am your customer and I am right. And if I’m not, then it’s probably because you didn’t educate me well enough. I think the solutions designed by the above-mentioned industries are simple and low-cost. And frankly, given all that you have going for you, I think you can do a lot better.
I KNOW you can do better.
Your loyal (yet frustrated) customer
Don’t feel like reading the whole thing? Here’s a summary: