The front door to everything else has moved.  Why not to our doctors?  Here’s what I mean.  When a business tries to reach its customers, they go to where the customers “are”.  They consider multiple factors in making sure that they are meeting customers in an easy to access way.  Think about how we purchase airline tickets, print photographs, make coffee, get music and I could go on.  All of those industries have morphed over the years to make it easier for customers to access product.  Why has the delivery of healthcare been stuck in the Middle Ages?  Why hasn’t it evolved to be easier, more efficient, and customer centric?  Yes I used the word customer, not patient.  It’s time we start thinking like that.

When we start thinking like a customer, certain things happen.  We have expectations now around services and deliverables.  We want people to greet us with a smile.  We want people that we come in contact with to be knowledgeable about what we are “shopping” for.  We want a nice experience and feel good when we leave.  That almost guarantees we will return when the need presents itself.

Now, think about the last time you were in a doctors office.  Did the front office really help you understand your insurance plan or explain why you were forking over so much money?  Did your doctor spend more than 10 minutes with you?  If you needed further care or medication, did you discuss options and alternatives or just sort of nod your head and do what the doctor ordered?  I would describe that as acting/thinking like a patient. We have been conditioned to accept certain behaviors and outcomes in the healthcare world that we would not stand for if we were in Target!  We’d call that supervisor so fast someone’s head would spin!

Healthcare has never been thought of or delivered like a consumer good.   Never in all of it’s years in the United States.  Doctors have prescribed treatment, and we follow it.  Period.  No questions asked.  Now, there are a few checks and balances in place for unnecessary care but even those can fail.  There is so much billing fraud in Medicare, it’s embarrassing. When insurance companies are asked to be more transparent on where premium dollars are being spent, you get a lot of clearing of throats if you know what I mean.

The pandemic of COVID-19 I think has taught us a few things.  It showed us, out of necessity, that you don’t need to be front and center in your physician’s office for all things to have someone look at you medically.  In fact, many of the top conditions that people see a physician for can be treated with a telemedicine visit.  A telemedicine visit should be 50% or more less expensive than an in person visit.  Yet, the outcome can be even better.  I don’t need to travel to a doctors office which may be many miles away.  I can stay home in my bunny slippers and with technology, FaceTime my doctor to have him/her review my symptoms and prescribe care.  If I need a medicine, they can electronically send that to the pharmacy, and today many pharmacies deliver.  I don’t even need to leave my couch.  Wow, a good outcome with better service.  Novel idea.

Now, I don’t mean to disparage all physicians or healthcare groups. I am generalizing to make a point.  However, many of you reading this can identify with the patient experience above.  Healthcare delivery must become easier for the consumer to use.  It must work to become more cost efficient so people can afford medical treatment when needed.  The old ways will not continue to work in a world that has been transformed by technology.  Every other consumer market has evolved, now it’s time for healthcare delivery to do the same thing.  Let’s change the front door, so people will want to ring the bell (or text you that they are here).

To Be Notified When New Blogs Are Published