What Can Brad & Angelina & Kim Teach Us About Healthcare?

Every time I open my eyes I get more confused.  Yesterday, in a grocery store, I saw eleven magazines who’s front page featured an article about what is going on between Brad and Angelina.  Those that differed featured Kim Kardashian.  And what troubles me the most is that the people who are fascinated by Brad and Angelina and Kim are still covered by the part of the constitution that specifies one man, one vote.

(To be transparent, I asked someone, whose opinion I respect, about whether I should include a few other paragraphs in this post. We exchanged opinions about free speech, and I think we each reached the same conclusion—the benefits of free speech are applied much more liberally, and with more discretion, to the one doing the reading than to the person doing the writing. As such, I deleted those paragraphs. I tried learning how to paste the paragraphs using redacted text, but that made the post look too much like the copies of Hillary’s emails that the FBI made available to Congress. Whoops, I just vaulted over the free-speech barrier again, didn’t I?)

I am confused, but then, that is my normal state.  I have no answers for life’s big unanswered questions. I wonder, can Big Bird can fly, and why it is that SpongeBob SquarePants’s, who lives in the sea, Krabby Patties never get wet?

I have two dogs.  When I ask them if they want to go outside, they dash out of the open door like their tails are on fire.  They know, and I know, that they do not know why they are in such a hurry to be outside, they just are.  I think they expect that something wonderful awaits.  Expectations, especially those without a foundation constructed from reality, are seldom met.

Healthcare is fraught with unmet expectations. If I call your health system, I expect someone to answer the phone.  If someone answers the phone, I expect that they will be able to help me address whatever I need.  If I call at noon, I expect that someone will answer the phone instead of making me listen to a recorded message stating that everyone is at lunch. If I ask to speak with a clinician, I expect to be able to speak with a clinician, not a recording that tells me how important my call is and that someone will respond to my message in two to three days.  If I call at 8 p.m., I expect to be able to speak with someone, not to hear a recording that says, “You should have called Comcast; their call center is open until 11 and on weekends, and if you subscribe to HBO, they will schedule an appointment with you physician.

And then there are your websites.  When I go to your website, I go there for a reason.  I have never gone to a provider’s website to read about the provider.  If I just wanted to read something, I could be reading about Brad and Angelina and Kim.  If I wanted to make a donation, I would have called Goodwill.  If I wanted to find a doctor, I could have used the Yellow Pages. If I wanted to pay my bill, I would have already paid it.

Every person, whether or not they are a patient, who tries to access your organization, and who wants to be engaged by an employee of your organization, does so with a predefined set of expectations.

Had anyone at your health system asked, they would know of those expectations. But they haven’t asked, and they won’t.  And perhaps that is why so many people would rather spend their idle moments catching up on Brad and Angelina and Kim.


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