Patient Access: Are You Putting A Square Leg In A Round Boot?

My DC hotel room last week was about the same size as a prison cell. But the towels were better, and they had an open wine bar at night, so maybe it was like a California prison.

One of the recent news shows has a healthcare-cum-fashion piece about women’s fall footwear; boots. Apparently, not all women can fit into the particular pair of boots they want to buy. My reaction was that the women in question should consider buying a different pair of boots. Apparently, my mind is too limited.

All was lost for these poor women until one group of healthcare professionals jumped in with a solution. If the shoe fits, wear it. If the shoe does not fit, it is because their calves are too large—I would never consider writing that their calves were too fat. Even someone as disdainful as I am about being politically correct does not need to go looking for trouble.

So the news reporter did her piece with the physician and the woman who wanted the boots, drew little red lines all over the woman’s calves, and yada, yada, yada, by the end of the piece the woman was able to fit into the new boots.

The question that immediately came to mind for me was, what if she finds a jacket that matches the boots, but whose sleeves are too short? Does she have her arms shortened?

For most problems, at some point we will encounter an easy answer that is so simplistic that our natural response is to disregard it.

For example, when people call your health system they call because they want a piece of information or they want to be able to accomplish something or they want to make a complaint. If your health system receives a million calls a year, ninety-seven point two percent of them will fall into one of those three buckets.

The easy answer would be to design your call center to be able to respond to those three types of calls. The more difficult solution would be to make your callers feel like you were telling them that the best solution you could offer them was to shorten their arms.

After your call center has shortened their arms, the callers may not be able to reach their phones, or if they can, they may just decide to call someone else.

I would write more about this topic, but I just saw an advertisement for a pretty dapper pair of boots—I hope they are not too snug.

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