So I cut my foot. I’m not really sure how. I was cleaning up some stuff in my house and slashed my foot on who-knows-what? The cut is about an inch across and maybe 1/8 deep. Pretty deep. Scalpel deep. Now what?
Health Care is Broken – Here’s How
First, I had to find my health care card info because I never really have much need for it. I then decide to call and get a new Primary Care Provider because my last guy, while really nice, used to make me wait two or more hours past my appointment time every time I went to visit.
It takes about 14 minutes of hold time to get to the now-centralized medical organization that now “handles” the doctor I picked at random. She tells me that doctor isn’t accepting patients (even though my health insurance company site said he was) and she’ll still me with some other random doctor. (Fine by me. They actually look alike on the website. Literally.)
I mention that I’ve cut my foot and can I come in? She’ll have to transfer me to the local office (which was the number I dialed, but evidently, I ended up at the mother ship) to see if that’s doable. Fine, no worries.
Six minutes of hold time later, I talk to a lady. I relay my story as briefly as possible.
“Oh, Doctor ___ isn’t even here on Tuesdays. Let me put you through to his nurse’s line and see if she can tell you whether someone else here can see you.”
I get voicemail. A reasonably cold voicemail that tells me she’s obviously busy and she’ll get back to me whenever.
I hang up and start Googling.
There is Zero Incentive for the Medical Professionals to Fix This
And I get it. I’m friends with a few doctors. One has stopped taking insurance because he has to work really hard for very low dollars. They’re overworked already and there’s no money in boring general practice stuff like when an idiot (me) cuts his foot open on some mystery piece of furniture that’s sharper than a scalpel.
The money is in gastric bypass and face lifts and boobs. Or really niche specialty stuff. It’s not really the medical professionals’ fault.
The Solutions Are Starting to Come Around Themselves
I Googled for some alternatives. Both major drug stores in my area, CVS and Walgreens, are rolling out little clinics that are now able to compete with hospitals and doctor’s offices for people like me.
Also, there’s a whole new class of doctors who’ll take on patients for a flat fee paid without an insurance provider. I see one for physical therapy. I saw one for a shrink a bunch of years ago. You pay. You get amazing service. You leave.
See how this is a systems issue?
All Businesses Have These Opportunities
This isn’t really about health care being broken. It’s an opportunity around you all the time. Someone out there isn’t treating their customers well. Every time that happens, YOU have a chance to really help and deliver something amazing.
That’s a powerful market advantage. It just requires some thought, some care, and a bigger interest in making sure the customer is served.
I’d talk more about this but I have to go figure out how to stop the bleeding. I look like an episode of The Walking Dead.