January 20, 2019

Adjusters: Learn from Medical Offices on How NOT to Handle Customers

Don’t get me wrong. I like my family doctor.  But it’s the outlook of the medical establishment and the administrative procedures of offices that drive me crazy.

Ernestine

Exhibit A: I just got an automated “robo-call” from my family doctor’s office telling me that it is time to schedule an appointment. It says call the office to schedule an appointment.

End of story.

So, I dutifully call the office.  The first four times I call, the line is busy.

Finally, I get through.

Them:  “Doctors’ Offices – please hold.”  [Nice greeting!]

After a few minutes on hold, them “How can I help you”

Me:  “I received an

automated `robo call’ from your office telling me to schedule an appointment.”

Them:  “What’s the reason for the appointment?” [WTF??]

Me:  “I’m not sure, you called me.”

Them:  “Did it say the reason for the appointment?”

Me:  “It was an automated robo-call. You called me. It didn’t go into any detail or reason.”

Only after this exchange did I get an appointment. Does that make any sense?

Call the doctor’s office at mid-day and you get a recording, “We are closed for lunch. Please call back later…”

I really like my dentist too. BUT, by the way, don’t call her on Fridays. She’s closed that day. If you make the mistake of phoning on that day, you can’t leave a message on her machine.

When I have an upcoming dentist appointment, the office secretary phones me to confirm and — if I do not happen to be sitting by my phone awaiting her call at that moment — she leaves a message telling me to call her back to confirm. (Note: I have no track record of missing or being a “no-show” at dentist appointments. But, I’m not going to waste my time phoning her to confirm that I got her confirming phone call.)  Where does it end?

And don’t get me started about completing the obligatory New Patient Forms. Years after we started hearing about electronic medical records, it still seems like we have to reconstruct our medical histories from scratch for every new referral. Far be it from the docs to simply request the records from another office. Much better to have the patient take the time to fill out more forms. Plus, making them fill out forms keeps them busy, distracting them from the fact that the medical office is always running behind. But don’t forget to show up 15 minutes early, “just in case”!!

Your time has no value to the medical industrial complex.

Who is the customer here and who’s the service provider?

Could any successful business run its operation in such a customer-hostile method?

Rhetorical questions, admittedly.

Moral:  Assess your own front-line procedures, intake processes  and administrative systems in your claim offices and operations. Ask yourself, “Are these designed for the convenience of the claim staff or for the convenience of paying customers?”

It’s like Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine skit where she says, “We don’t have to care – we’re the phone company.”

Many hospitals and doctor’s offices seem to exude the same attitude. It is a privilege for you to utilize their services and you should be grateful and thankful.

Don’t emulate the medical establishment’s hubris.

(P.S. Please confirm that you received this message J )

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