Medical watch: Has health care customer service declined for the people?

The pandemic revealed many things about healthcare and its strengths and weaknesses.

Zach Vessell

In a recent article, Dr. Fred Pelzman (October 10, 2022) wrote an Op-Ed in MedPage today. He asks whether or not his dog, as a veterinary patient, has experienced better service and treatment than he receives when he goes to his medical appointments. It is a shame that he has to ask the question, right? What has happened to healthcare and patient-centered care? 

I too, who happens to be a dog owner, also have seen how animal hospital practices have evolved over the years. Like Dr. Pelzman’s dog, my dog is treated like a queen with love and care. Dr.  Pelzman is a physician, but when seeking healthcare as a patient, he notices the discrepancies between patient and customer service. Dr. Pelzman believes that “a man is treated somewhat less optimally, ignored and receiving subpar care, even before he gets in to see the doctor.”

Healthcare is at a crossroads. The pandemic revealed many things about healthcare and its strengths and weaknesses. So is Dr. Pelzman’s sentiment true? He recants that it’s hard to reach anybody on the phone, and the availability of the appointment is limited to under six to eight weeks. The primary aim of healthcare delivery should be to evaluate, manage, and advocate for patients’ health. Hess (February 27, 2012) believes that the healthcare system is very complicated but what is needed is improved customer service.

The healthcare physician-nursing industry is here to evaluate, manage and nurture and support them to be advocates for their health. But, for Black, Patients, is customer service different? Hess (February 27, 2012) reports that patient care/ healthcare should be “like any other well-run business; rising above the industry norm comes down to motivation, uncompromising standards, great hiring, and hard work.” Both Hess and Pelzman agree that excellent bedside manner is one of the best medical skills for future patients. Competency is a must. However, fantastic customer service experiences and patient-centered affairs can be very healing!  Narratives Matters!

References:

Hess, M. (February 27, 2012). Bad service in health care — is there no cure Bad service in health care — is there no cure? – CBS News

Pelzman, F.N. (October 10, 2022). Has Patient Service Gone to the Dogs? Good customer service is severely lacking in the healthcare system. Has Patient Service Gone to the Dogs? | MedPage Today

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