Thursday, April 21, 2016

Stossel: I have lung cancer. My medical care is excellent but the customer service stinks

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)

18 comments:

edutcher said...

No, most hospitals took forever to be digitized and what digitization they did institute had a mainframe mentality behind it. Part is just being penny wise and pound foolish. Part is the management attitude anybody can be a programmer, so get the cheapest you can find.

There are also massive laws imposed by the Feds and others that stand in the way.

AllenS said...

They want you to know just enough, to keep you coming back.

AprilApple said...

Striving to be more like Cuba, where we the peasants get this, and the kings and queens get that.

edutcher said...

No, it's the same for our betters.

Stossel is blowing smoke on this one.

It's mostly because of all the Lefty interference he sees this.

Besides, barcoding meds has nothing to do with customer service in a hospital.

Customer service in a hospital means is there a nurse for you when you go bad at 2 AM?

Amartel said...

The customer - the patient - is a cog in the massive bureaucratic machine, whether you're at the hospital or at the doctor's office. You and your health care issues are the reason for all the bureaucracy but when we/the government exempted the customer from most of the financial responsibility the customer's authority was also exempted. Now the customer's concerns, including medical record privacy concerns, health care decisionmaking concerns, and after a certain age actual health concerns (death panels), became a secondary, tertiary, even nonexistent. We gave up freedom for security. We are no longer in charge of your wn health care and cannot dictate terms about how it is delivered because we're not part of the financial transaction.

AprilApple said...

shorter ed - Stossel isn't sufficiently pro-OrangeObama, so anything he says, even his own personal experience, is meaningless. Viva OrangeObama.

Methadras said...

Government in the end is truly the problem. They have insinuated themselves between doctor/hospital and patient. This is all a drive now to get you to single payer. That's the strategy. Hate it so much that the only solution is that government swoops in and totally takes over. We've already seen what that looks like. Just ask the VA.

edutcher said...

Stossel's a Libertarian.

He wants all the Conservatives marching in lockstep with Erickson and Beck.

As with COPD, she doesn't know what she's talking about here, either.

There's all kinds of HIPAA and stuff that complicates all of this.

Amartel said...

Or anyone living on an Indian reservation.

Amartel said...

(in response to Methadras)

ampersand said...

My Doctor of 30 years retired. His practice was taken over by one of the local big hospitals. The new doctors don't provide any care. It seems everything includes a referral to treatment at said hospital. Blood tests are sent there and the cost has tripled. If you are referred to a new specialist, you are charged a new patient fee, everytime.

I am still trying to find a decent replacement.

Leland said...

I think people not in the medical problems profession or way to often confused as hotel staff, lawyers, and now supermarket cashiers. Nobody complains that the hotel maid staff doesn't know how to perform a c-section. Their lawyer's idea of endoscopy is to bend over while they reach for your wallet. And that the cashier doesn't perform open heart surgery.

I suggest Stossel do a "ride along" with a doctor or nurse doing a 12-hour shift.

Service can be improved, but the problems with healthcare can't be trivialized be comparison to other industries. If you think otherwise, I doubt you are in the medical field, and I therefore ask you to consider why you are not.

I do think the hidden cost stuff is bad. But won't be resolved until hospitals get the same rights as other businesses to pursue debts. You think having to bake a cake for a gay marriage or white supremacist is bad. Try having to care for a drug seeker you know has no intentions of paying their bill. Then think how a hospital stays open when it can't collect payments.

AprilApple said...

Yes ed - everyone gets a Trumpian classification by the OrangeObama adoring blind faith moron.

AprilApple said...

Thanks for continually proving my point.

ndspinelli said...

One of George C. Scott's better performances was in an underappreciated flick, The Hospital.

edutcher said...

True that.

AprilApple said...

Yes ed - everyone gets a Trumpian classification by the OrangeObama adoring blind faith moron.

There's treatment for these flights of incoherence. Seek it.

deborah said...

Yes Mr. Stossel, you do need an EKG and an echocardiogram...chemotherapy can be cardiotoxic.

Methadras said...

Amartel said...

Or anyone living on an Indian reservation.

April 21, 2016 at 1:45 PM
Blogger Amartel said...

(in response to Methadras)


Yeah, well, whitey grief pretty much costs a shit-ton of money to the taxpayer when the Dept. of Interior spends billions in payout to indian tribes so they can dole it out to their tribe members to sit on their fucking asses, get drunk, get high, and eat candy all day. Is it any wonder indians look like fucking giant hairless orangutans with those faces.