Patients sound off and they’re angry!

KEY TAKEAWAY: I was invited to attend a focus group panel on health care in Weston, Florida and was not prepared for the anger and frustration I heard from the range of people of all ages, demographics and backgrounds.  It’s clear our health care system is very broken and that “empowered patients” is more of a buzzword than reality.

You have heard about the anger of voters who are afraid of losing healthcare benefits with the possible repeal of the ACA.  That pales in comparison to what I heard…here are some sound bytes I wrote down..

“I’m sick and tired of being treated like a child by my doctor!  I have a college education and I’m not stupid so talk with me instead of talking AT me.”

“I called my doctor’s office three times to ask them to send over my medical records to my specialist.  Three times!  When I finally got my appointment they still had not been sent so I had to wait another 45 days for an appointment.  These are MY records not his!”

“How can you put the same people on the receiving end of scheduling and checking in patients day in and day out?  By the end of the day they are frazzled and have had enough of working with people so either pay them more or give them more breaks”.

“My doctor’s office called me and told me I needed to have an MRI.  When I asked why the girl on the phone said she didn’t she didn’t know?  Well, I need to know”.

“The day before my scheduled surgery my doctor’s office called to say that my insurance still had not approved my procedure.  I can’t tell you how long and how many calls I had to make to resolve this problem.   Who the hell is the customer here?

When the moderator asked the groups what could be done and what should be done their responses were pretty identical..

1ne: They wanted to be treated like “customers”.  As one person said “Amazon treats me better than my doctor’s office does does”.

2wo: Electronic health records need to be developed for patients not doctors.  Patients want EHR’s that follow them from a physician to the physician’s office so they don’t have to worry about carrying them and following up with doctors.

3hree: They want admin people who are friendly, and helpful.  The groups had horror stories about people who less than helpful and don’t seem to understand what they are going through.

Overall, I heard a lot of people say “it’s my healthcare” and “I’m paying more now for my insurance but I’m not treated any better”.

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