Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

While I was in Japan recently, my credit card didn’t work — most likely because I didn’t warn my credit card company that I was going to be in Japan.

When I got back to the States, I called the company to make sure the hold on my card was taken off. I spent FOREVER on the phone waiting for assistance (it must have been 30 to 40 minutes).  Then the line went dead. I called and waited again only to get  connected to a service representative who said that because their systems were down,  she couldn’t help me.

I felt like they made me waste my time. I got mad. I’m sure I didn’t sound particularly nice.

Generally, I’m a nice guy, but I’m sure this person could hear how angry I was and thought I was just  chronically unhappy.

I just wanted to get off the phone, so I didn’t give this representative who couldn’t help me much time to argue with me.  It would have been easy for her to be surly in response to my being surly, but that would have just escalated my anger.  A better approach would have been for her to  remember that the angry customer may be an entirely reasonable —  just temporarily unhappy — person.

In our doctors’ offices, it may also be hard to see that the patient who comes in unhappy — possibly because of us keeping them waiting — may not always be unhappy or angry. We should treat every patient with respect and give them the benefit of the doubt.

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When I went on my recent trip to Japan, I flew United Airlines.  The meeting sponsors paid to have me fly in business class.  It was a great experience.  I could tell how the staff and the company were committed to giving me great care.
Just before the flight ended, a representative from United came over to me and surveyed me on my experience with the flight.  He was very polite, but at the time, despite my love of giving feedback, I just wanted to watch the on-flight entertainment system.  I think they would do well to offer an online feedback system like DrScore so that I could give my feedback at a time that was most convenient for me.

Sometimes I hear physician colleagues say that patient ratings aren’t a good way to assess the quality of health care.  They have a point, but they are also missing the boat.  I have no idea how to fly an airplane, much less all the other technical aspects of how airplanes and airlines work, just as most patients probably don’t know much about the technical aspects of medical care.  But I do know and I can comment on whether my experience on my trip was good or bad.

Patients know whether they have received a good medical experience.

Safe, on-time air travel is like making the right diagnosis and giving the right treatment.  It’s a critical foundation for great service, but it isn’t the end of great service.  A caring experience is essential, too.

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I just recently got back from a trip to Japan, where I was invited to give a very well received presentation to dermatologists and other physicians there on the topic of patient satisfaction. There was tremendous interest in DrScore and in online physician ratings.

Despite cultural differences between the United States and Japan — and differences in the social structure in paying for health care — the fundamentals of patient-physician relationships are quite similar.  The Japanese physicians were intrigued by the DrScore research on factors that determine patients’ satisfaction with their care.

Perhaps the Japanese are very comfortable with Internet-based technologies, as there was no pushback from the physicians on the idea of making doctors’ patient satisfaction scores public.  They seemed to grasp the value to both patients and physicians in making representative scores public.

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