Aren’t we the medical professionals supposed to keep a clear head about us, when patients fall ill?
Aren’t we the ones who have been trained in clinical decision making, and because of our training to discern and differentiate symptoms for diagnostic criteria, aren’t we the ones who have the most common sense when it comes to understanding viral transmission, contamination and etiology of diseases?
So why do medical facilities not deliver better customer service in the “New Normal” post Covid-19 spread………….. The other day I went to get my eyes checked. Quite simply I needed a new prescription for my contact lenses. I felt just fine on my way over, and on my way back I felt I had just experienced what most criminals must feel like when entering jail. While the Optometrist did a fabulous job, the experience was horrendous…….. I arrived to a locked door, with a notice saying call this # so we can admit you, even though I had scheduled an appointment and they knew to expect me by 1pm. The first call, did not get answered and after too many rings, I tried again. I was told to wait in the car and I would be called back.
It was a steamy hot day and there was no shade in the parking lot, so I kept my car door open and windows down. My 1pm appointment time came and went, and 15 minutes later the call came in, to verify I was the 1pm patient. I gave all the relevant information which usually gets done sitting in an air conditioned waiting room. Over the phone she collected my $40 copay and we were still 20 minutes from getting me across the threshold. After the call ended, I was to wait for the nurses phonecall to get my history. The second call came at 1:35pm and after 10 more minutes, satisfied they had the information they needed, I was told to come to the locked door with a mask on and ID in hand. When the door opened I was promptly stopped on the mat, now dripping with sweat and feeling overheated and I thought I would be frisked, but instead had a thermometer aimed at my sweaty head. Thank goodness my temperature was 98.5 degrees, though it felt like it should have been 99.5 by then.
The good news is there are alternative ways to keep safety measures a priority. We have a patient portal and instead of waiting in a overheated parking lot to get your intake information you can fill the registration forms out beforehand to minimize time in the waitingroom. I think it is important to admit you at the time of your appointment, and not 40 minutes later. You will not have wait time in the waitingroom so that you will not be sharing the space.
So come on Healthcare providers, let’s use the common sense that comes with Medical training and give service to those with illness, or disability or disease the respect they deserve and where customer service is concerned, whether this new normal demands any differently, the treatment should be better in the present than it was in the past !
Let us not allow fear to marr rational decision making especially from intelligent citizens with higher education. This “survival mode” thinking does put the responsibiity onto each individual, therefore it is up to us as health care providers to not be in control of how each decides to expose him or herself to the community beyond the basic use of a mask? Can we prevent the rebel non compliant from their own fate if they so choose? and as long as we provide best standard practice in delivery of customer service and patient care…………should we?