Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lessons learnt after spending half a day at a hospital

I just spent some time in the hospital with a friend who was ill - and this was quite an eye-opening experience. As doctors, we are used to floating in and out of hospitals which are like second homes to us. However , as a patient, the view is quite different !

I found that while the medical care was fine ( after all my friend got VIP care since I was with him - some perks of being a doctor !); the customer service was extremely poor !

We spent a long time at billing counters and filling up forms - and everytime a new test was ordered, we had to go back to pay more money to get the test done. Finally, we spent more time with the billing department than we spent with the doctor !

It would be so easy to fix this problem ! Hospitals should have more counters to fulfill their administrative duties - and each department could have their own billing station, so patients would not have to run down to the central billing counter each time to pay bills !
Since all the billing is computerised, this would be very easy to do.

I also think hospitals should have escorts ( or concierges) to help patients make their way through the complex maze the hospital represents. I am sure it would be easy to recruit volunteers from the community to perform this task - a win-win situation in places like Bombay, where there is no shortage of people !

Why does customer service get such low priority in hospitals ?

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