What I Was Doing – The Story…

Well, here I go again! I’m going to get on my pedestal and talk about how frustrating it is to hear about patients (consumers) having unacceptable experiences within our healthcare system. As many of you know, my life and career is focused on creating experiences and innovations that focus on the consumer rather it be a provider, patient, nurse, or vendor.

Two weeks ago I shared my encounter with Gary Hoover and his statement, “To make a difference in healthcare we need to study the great service organizations of the past and of today!” Gary was right! I want to share two stories this week.

First, one from my wife, Carla, and our experience on Delta airlines (a service provider). The second, from a colleague of mine and her experience visiting an emergency room in Louisville, Kentucky.

My wife and I had an opportunity to go away this past weekend to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary to Las Vegas. On our return trip we had an incredible experience with a flight attendant. Here is the story through my wife’s eyes:

delta-logoJust got off of Delta flight 1075 from Las Vegas to Minneapolis. We were promptly greeted by our flight attendant, Vincent. Let me just tell you, that he should give a master class on proper customer service. He was so gracious and so accommodating as well as charming. If you are ever fortunate enough to be on one of his flights, consider yourself lucky. He’s a wonderful asset to the Delta family!!!!!

That whole flight was dynamite for both of us! He made us feel like we were #1 the entire flight, while taking care of 14 other passengers. It was absolutely an amazing experience.

Next, my colleague this past Saturday evening needed to visit the emergency room to have her foot looked at. When I read her post on Facebook I was mortified for her, and shocked that she was treated like she was – but the nugget in it all is the end of the story. I will share more on that after you read excerpts from her experience.

Last night I finally reached out to my daughter to take me to a local Norton Hospital ER. The pain in my foot had finally gnawed through my wall and I cracked. I was nauseous and experiencing chills.

norton-healthcareA lack of empathy from the front desk became clear from the moment my daughter struggled to help me into the wheelchair once inside the ER- as a nurse watched from behind the counter and never moved or offered to get help. I was hobbling in on one foot and clearly in need of some assistance. A short time later I was wheeled back to be evaluated. That nurse was disengaged, unsympathetic and her heart elsewhere than in the moment with this pain ravaged, exhausted patient.

Then, the tide turned. Once in the hands of the nursing staff, I experienced true empathy driven care. Rich concern, detailed care and immediately at ease. The x ray techs even wished me a belated birthday. The ER doctor was one of the most kind physicians I have come across in a long time. Factual, but with a warmth and genuine bedside manner. All things a pain baby, embarrassed to be of inconvenience to my daughter who had just worked 12 hours straight – needed at that time.

My daughters both work in patient services in the ER for two different hospitals here. Watching my daughter react to the initial care I received said a lot for how she views her responsibility to the patient. Interestingly, I found myself not wanting her to cause a stir – completely unlike me – and realized that as a patient, I just wanted to be cared for compassionately. How many times do patients just silently accept such blatant lack of compassion? More often than not I would say after my experience!

What I Learned…

That final sentence was my gold nugget. This colleague is a confident, outspoken female, gold-nuggetbut she sat quietly and did not want to disturb the system. She just wanted a compassionate experience. She wanted to be treated with dignity…like a human! That’s all! After I read that post, I knew I had to continue to work passionately toward top-notch experiences for all patients!

What I Will Do With It…

I also learned that the service industry has a lot to offer and inspire us in this space. So let’s study them, learn from them, and implement their methodologies around the consumer experience.

Will you join the cause?

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