Our medical system in the U.S.A. has been envy of the rest of the world for many years. The inventions and innovations for surgeries, pharmaceuticals, improved hospital systems, medical educational institutes, training of doctors and nurses, creating efficient emergency medical system, probably the best trauma system in the world and most notably the most well trained physicians by the modern medical and surgical residency systems that every other country tries to imitate.
However, there is one glaring element that has been overlooked for many years. That is the “Customer Care.”
America is probably the most innovative nation on earth. We invented more things that changes lives than any other countries. Just look at the Electric Light Bulb, Modern Medicine, Airplanes, Movies, Phonograph, Skyscraper, Liquid Fuel Rocket, Sunglasses, Computer, Nylon, Automatic Transmission for Automobiles, Microwave, Laser, LED Lighting, Shopping Malls, Laser Printers, Fiber Optic Cable, Internet, E-mails, GPS Navigation System, IBM’s Watson, Artificial Intelligence, iPhones, and FaceTime.
With all of the innovations and inventions came the surprising advancement in marketing and selling. The urban cities have seen the invention of supermarkets, downtown shopping malls come and go. One thing that was important for these service sectors to survive is to cater to the customers’ needs and their wants. The customers want faster and convenient service with kind human touch. Just look at the most successful shops that are still with us today. The Nordstrom, 7-11, QuickLube, McDonad’s, Costco, etc. These are where people want to go shop and enjoy the consistent, uniform services with excellent customer care and consistent human touch with reasonable prices.
In modern medicine we have come far with inventions that changed the world with its innovation and its applicability in extending human lives. The CNN top ten lists are Human Genome Project, Stem Cell Research, Atripla-Triple HIV Treatment Tablet, Targeted Molecular Treatment for Cancer Cells, Minimally Invasive Surgeries, Smoke-free laws, HPV Vaccine Gardasil, Transplants Technology, Birth Control, Bionic limbs.
However, the one overlooked area of medicine is the customer care. It starts with the experience of the each and every patient at the doctor’s office. The doctor’s office must be able to achieve the following convenience factor. It must offer the immediate pain free laboratory exams including the basic complete blood tests, urine tests, pregnancy test and chest and extremity x-rays and basic ultrasound. These tests must be available for immediate viewing and uploading to the patient’s digital devices and must have immediate and preliminary interpretation by the machine that performs this test. The overall test results should be discussed with the same physician at the end of the initial visit. The doctor must not be liable for missed diagnosis because there are professional pathologist, hematologist, radiologist and other specialists that are trained to read the x-rays, lab results and histopathologic slides to determine if and when these things are relevant. However, during the initial consultation the preliminary readings of the x-rays and laboratory results must be available for viewing by the patient and the physician based on the algorithm so that the physician is not under pressure to make the exact and absolutely final diagnosis. However, further detailed analysis will be done by the experts upon request by the patient for more expensive charges for the later date.
Finally the patient must have the medications individually packaged for the duration of the treatments ready by the time the initial consultation and treatment plans are agreed by the patient and the physician. The pharmacist must be available during the same time that the doctor’s office operates whether it is from 8 o’clock until the closing of the office usually 5 or 6 p.m. The medications must be in an individual transparent biodegradable packet with one sheet of explanations of which tablet does which treatment and the side effects in a simple to read and understand language and the packet should have printed on it at what time to take these pills.
The customer must know exactly how much these services cost and they must be able to pay with their insurance plans with reasonable and consistent co-pays. The co-pays cannot be different for each and every practitioner. It must be uniform whether it is for a family doctor or internal medicine doctor or OB/GYN or pediatrician. Once these common illnesses are found and treated, then the more advanced treatment plan can be formulated and referred to a bigger clinic and hospital based system. If the patient needs a surgeon or oncologist or neurologist, the patient must be referred to them immediately and the appointment system must be made from doctor’s office to doctor’s referral specialist office bypassing any need for the customer’s to get involved.
These must be done so that American medicine reflect upon the convenience and customer care that we are so proud in implementing in almost every other aspect of the society where the competition for public’s money demands and dictates the surviving service sectors. The health care system must learn from the likes of Nordstrom.