Day: July 28, 2018

Hard-Hearted Medical Care

Many people experience the medical profession as sadly lacking in heart, money-hungry rather than placing a sincere care for patients’ well-being at the top of their priorities.

Just the other day I ran into a vivid example of why MDs suffer the fallout of their unconsciously hard-sell approach.

I called a local medical office I was referred to by a friend and was shocked by the rude lack of care in the outgoing phone message.

Follow along with me and imagine how you would feel when you phone the doctor’s office and the phone message is, “If you are a physician or hospital press one. If you need our address or fax number press two. If you need medical records press three. If you have billing inquiries press four. If you are a patient and wish to make, change or cancel an appointment press five. If you need to speak with a medical practitioner press six.”

How do you feel when you realize that you, as a patient, rank at the very bottom of the doctor’s priorities?

Bad enough. But it gets worse. When I requested an appointment for Jim (who’d had a couple of peculiar fainting episodes), the woman at the appointment desk said, “We can’t make an appointment without a referral.” I said that we’d been referred by someone who worked for the medical school and was not an MD. “As I said, we can’t make an appointment without a referral.”

So I said, “Okay, I’m a psychologist. I have a PhD. Can I make the referral and describe the symptoms in my referral?” “Yes. The fax number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

So I wrote up the referral and faxed it in – not mentioning that the patient was my husband, of course.

When I called back to make the appointment I was struck by the blind bureaucracy running the place. Why? Because, even though I am not an MD, my referral counted. It was all about bureaucratic protocol.

And then for the next shock. We couldn’t get an appt for 2 ½ months. When I complained that having to wait that long was completely unacceptable, no one suggested the possibility of seeing any other of the MDs who worked in that office.

So we called our friend who’d made the referral, and through his influence, we were able to get an appointment just three days later.

Hard sell, buyer-beware business tactics don’t just belong to the realm of finance and real estate. It’s lurking all around us, ready to be brought to light and transformed for the benefit of all.