Hope for Customer Service in Health Care? (CBS News article)
Earlier this year I wrote a column about the sorry state of customer service in medical care. But recently I had the pleasure (how often can you use that word in the context of health care?) of being treated, literally, to a striking exception.
Last week I was getting ready for a business trip to Asia and got a sore throat the day before leaving. Preferring not to go without antibiotics if I needed them -- or worse, wind up needing medical care in China or Vietnam -- I stopped, without an appointment, into a nearby Immediate Care facility (division of TeamHealth holdings, NYSE: TMH). The company is one of a growing number of chains providing an alternative to emergency room visits and a range of other common outpatient services, from sniffles to stitches, fever to fractures, and more. But unlike any typical ER, it provides these services with as much of a focus on the patient/customer experience as on quality medical care.
Immediate Care promises minimal wait times, immaculate facilities and pleasant, compassionate people, and during my visit they delivered flawlessly. The building looked more like a day spa than a doctor's office. I was checked in quickly and efficiently and seen within 20 minutes, and every person I dealt with -- from the front desk to the clinicians -- was smiling and unfailingly courteous, attentive and caring.
I was so impressed by the experience that I contacted the corporate office to learn more. In keeping with the company's name and ethic, I got an immediate response. Salvatore Durante, the company's Urgent Care Operations manager, gave me a five-point summary of what makes the business tick. Interestingly -- but not surprisingly -- it's all about humans as beings, not bodies: