My doctors tell me my growth was caught early and I'll be fine. Soon I will barely notice that a fifth of my lung is gone. I believe them. After all, I'm at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked it No. 1 in New York. I get excellent medical care here.
But as a consumer reporter, I have to say, the hospital's customer service stinks. Doctors keep me waiting for hours, and no one bothers to call or email to say, "I'm running late." Few doctors give out their email address. Patients can't communicate using modern technology.
I get X-rays, EKG tests, echocardiograms, blood tests. Are all needed? I doubt it. But no one discusses that with me or mentions the cost. Why would they? The patient rarely pays directly. Government or insurance companies pay.
I fill out long medical history forms by hand and, in the next office, do it again. Same wording: name, address, insurance, etc.
I shouldn't be surprised that hospitals are lousy at customer service. The Detroit Medical Center once bragged that it was one of America's first hospitals to track medication with barcodes. Good! But wait -- ordinary supermarkets did that decades before.
Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialist bureaucracies. Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies. (more)