Me and Matlock in the hospital

WARNING:: Don’t read this if you get nauseous easily.

I believe! Tom Peters. (!) The healthcare system is broken. And not just for the obvious reasons…

A bit of background to for you to fully see the foul mood I’m in…

On Monday night after supper, I became violently ill. Not just a mild sickness, mind you…but a full blown “wishing-my-gastrointestinal-system-wasn’t-part-of-my-body-oh-yeah-that-is-what-I-had-for-lunch-I’m-going-to-sue-the-restaurant-that-made-me-this-sick” kind of illness. After a night spent on my knees in front of the porcelain mercy seat, I felt well enough to work on Tuesday. About noon, I started shivering like I had never shivered before (on an 80 degree day anyway). I couldn’t stop. It was disconcerting and I felt horrible. So I headed to the nearest ER. I did not find George Clooney there.

I was shivering so much that I couldn’t fill out the intake form legibly. The check-in “guy” didn’t offer any assistance. He did shove me into a wheelchair and pushed me over to the wall out of the way. After about 15-20 minutes, I was taken (pushed) to “triage” where two nurses actually offered me a blanket and attempted to find out my history. They quickly pushed me to the financial desk where I told my entire life history and all my vital numbers to a woman between dry heaves.

I then was pushed to the middle of the waiting room…where I sat in my wheelchair while hearing parts of one and a half episodes of Matlock, an episode of Little House on the Prairie, and about 15 minutes of Ellen Degeneres (that’s about 2 hours and 45 minutes for you non-TV junkies). Also during this time, the hospital’s intercom had the following message playing about every 15 minutes “Because of above average patient volume, your waiting time may be longer than usual”

Thoughts running through my mind at this time…
–I’m going to be like that woman in the wheelchair at the NOLA convention center
–Those people in that chair don’t look that sick…I bet I go back before them.
–I bet they play the “above average” message all the time…I need to come back and check
–Those people in that chair don’t look that sick…I bet I go back before them.
–Matlock needs to figure out who killed Laura and Paw. Maybe it was Ellen.
–Those people in that chair don’t look that sick…I bet I go back before them.
–This will be blogged.

My wife arrived at the hospital (after arranging childcare for the boy and driving from a town 30 miles away) and we finally went back where I was poked and prodded. “Cultures” were taken. And I was given a shot that knocked me out from 5pm to 7am the next morning.

I feel better now. Thanks.

But here’s the thing. This morning and a few times today, I saw some advertising for the hospital. Actually, they “market” the hospital quite a bit. They talked alot about their customer service in the ads and how good they are for the community and their patients.

Bull.

Like I said the other day with another much less serious failure of customer service, good operations and taking care of the customer are the best marketing you can do. How about plowing some of that marketing money into some OT for a doc when “above average patient volume” hits? How about realizing that your customers in a healthcare setting are already not happy because of their conditions and doing everything above and beyond? What about just being treated the way you would want to be treated.

Medical and healthcare providers HAVE to stop thinking about patients and need to start thinking about customers (which I have said before and before)

Now obviously, I wasn’t having a heart attack or didn’t have a severed limb, so you may think I’m overreacting. But in those cases…you don’t really make the healthcare choice…the ambulance driver makes it for you. The majority of healthcare decisions are made by a thinking consumer. And I think, I will make a different choice the next time.

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Chris Houchens is a marketing raconteur & writer. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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One comment on “Me and Matlock in the hospital
  1. kim says:

    Any reason you don’t name the hospital in your blog post? Might actually have an effect.

    Hope your feeling better