Waiting for Better Service

A few weeks ago, I had a doctor’s appointment at 9 am.  At 8:55, I was in the waiting room.  At 9:20, I was still in the waiting room.  Then, I got called into the room where they do all the preliminary stuff before the doctor comes in.  At 9:25, the nurse told me that the doctor would be right in. At 10:03, my doctor comes in and asks me how I am.  I was very honest with him — not well.  In an industry that is centered on patient care, how can a doctor make a patient wait over an hour to be seen?  How can the policy be to charge patients when they are late or don’t show, but there are no repercussions for the patients when the doctor is late?  The subtext, intended or not, is that people in the medical profession are better and that their time is worth more than anyone else’s.  This is something — from a service perspective — that I cannot stand.  So I told him; he was very apologetic and said that they have been having practice management problems and that his goal was to provide premium care — on time — to all his patients.  Clearly, he wasn’t meeting his goal.

My story is not unique.  Almost everyone you ask will have a doctor’s waiting room story.  There seems to be a wide-spread service problem in the healthcare industry.  And, because most folks are afraid to say anything, or because it is a hassle to change doctors, we put up with it.  Healthcare professionals know this; they know that you are coming to them for answers, from a place of vulnerability, and, thus, their mismanagement and poor service is justified.  It shouldn’t be.  We shouldn’t wait around for better service; we should seek out practitioners that provide a better service experience.  Only then will industry-wide changes begin to take place.

What do you think?

  • Have you experienced bad—or good—service at a healthcare facility recently?
  • If bad, what did you do about it?  If nothing, why?  If something, what actions did you take?
  • Do you think better service protocols in the healthcare industry will be instituted?  If so, how?

Post your response—and check back for a reply!