Patient Satisfaction: How Many Days Ago Was Sunday?

How long have you been doing this?  That’s seems like a fair question to ask of anyone in a clinical situation.  It’s more easily answered when you are in someone’s office and are facing multiple framed and matted attestations of their skills.  Seen any good Patient Satisfaction or retention certificates on the walls of the people entrusted with the execution of the hospital’s patient experience endowment?  Me either. 

I have a cardiologist and he has all sorts of paper hanging from his wall.  Helps to convince me he knows his stuff.  Now, if I were to pretend to be a cardiologist—I’ve been thinking of going to night school—I’d expect people would expect to see my bona fides.

Shouldn’t the same logic apply to whoever is spending the hospital’s resources to retain patients? 

Please permit me to offer a real-life example. More than ten years ago I had a heart attack and was taken to a local hospital.  I lived, thanks for asking.  For the last ten years I have done all of my cardiac follow up at U Penn, a different hospital.  The hospital that treated me does not know that I lived; they never called, I never heard from them again.  Cost of a phone call—$30.  Cost of not retaining me as a patient—quite a bit.

(This same hospital has a large business development team and an equally large marketing department that frequently markets its cardiology offerings.  Talk about an opportunity to cut wasteful expenses.)

Imagine this discussion.

“What do you do?”

“I’m implementing something for the hospital that we have never done.”

“Why?”

“The feds say we’ve got to have it.”

“Oh.  What’s it do?”

“Nobody really knows.”

“How long have you been doing this?”

“How many days ago was Sunday?”

“What’s it cost?”

“Somewhere between this much,” he stretches out his arms, “And this much,” stretching them further.

“Do the doctors want this?”

“Some do.”

“How will you know when you’re done if you got it right?”

“Beats me.”

“Sounds like fun,” she said, trying to fetter a laugh.

Sounds like fun to me too.

 

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