Hotels.com has a great commercial that shows a man being carried to his room by the hotel staff. A little confused, the man looks up and asks whether he is receiving special treatment because the hotel knows that he will write a review of his experience. One of the men carrying him looks up and candidly responds, “yes.”[youtube:http://youtube.com/watch?v=LV8l4TkDraY%5D
What a novel idea! A service delivery industry responding in a positive way to consumers who are aware and critical of their experience. Could this be possible in a hospital setting? The answer is unequivocally YES! My guess is that administrators, physicians, and other members of the hospital elite would argue with me: after all, what do patients know of the complicated processes that go on in a hospital? Capacity is maxed out, nurses are overburdened, and physicians are already carrying more than a full schedule of patients. Oh yeah, throw these aspects of a hospital stay in with the fact that patients wouldn’t know or understand the procedures or terminology that are being thrown around and the situation is ripe for patient frustration and unhappiness, right? Wrong.
A person is always more intelligent than he or she is given credit for, and there needs to be accountability for a bad experience resulting from a delay in treatment, complications from treatment, or just plain poor treatment from clinicians. Websites like healthgrades.com, revolutionhealth.com, and ratemds.com need to be utilized by health care consumers who can voice their hospital experience, good or bad.
Right now, health care consumers treat health care as a commodity, something for which there is no qualitative differentiation across the market. But, the truth is that health care is NOT uniform. There are good physicians and bad, there are good nurses and bad, there are clean hospitals and dirty hospitals, there are efficient hospitals and inefficient hospitals, etc.
Empowering the health care consumer by expanding his/her knowledge of a given health care setting would hold caregivers accountable and, just maybe, lead to physicians and/or nurses carrying their patients from the lobby to their rooms because they know that patient will write a review describing his or her experience at the hospital.