I just went to the doctor’s office for my annual physical. In my market, I have to schedule this appointment a year in advance, and there are no automatic reminders. So when a year rolls around, there is always some sort of scheduling conflict that makes me have to reschedule. This time, when I called to reschedule, the very polite front desk person said next available was seven months away! Oh boy, I had no choice but WAIT.
When the appointment finally rolled around, I sat in the waiting room for over an hour. I wished someone had let me know ahead of time that they were running late--I could have stayed at work or home, being productive. Finally, I was shuttled to the back, vitals taken and left to WAIT for another 45 minutes before the doctor came in.
She apologized about running behind, went straight to the computer for my blood test results, which I had drawn two weeks earlier. Nothing. After a couple of phone calls, it was concluded that they had been lost. I would have to go back and have them redone. She was FRUSTRATED, I was FRUSTRATED, and we made the best of the appointment, not having all the information we needed.
I went back to the lab and had my blood drawn again. It’s been a month or so, and I have heard nothing from my doctor, so I assume no news is good news. Just got the bill and it included both blood draws!
Sound familiar? This story is what we have come to expect as the norm in healthcare--WAIT, WASTE, FRUSTRATION, DEFECTS, no wonder we have the most expensive healthcare in the world. Our job at the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value is to help change this experience by making it more patient centric without waste, wait or harm.
In Northeast Wisconsin, that market is a thousand miles away and quite different from mine. At ThedaCare, leaders, physicians and staff were not satisfied with the status quo. They used lean thinking to change the way healthcare is delivered to you and me. They specifically look at their WAITS, WASTES, and DEFECTS, provider FRUSTRATION and patient FRUSTRATION, and did something about it. Rather than describe the annual physical experience at ThedaCare, I want to show you in a short two minute video. This time, it’s with my boss, John Toussaint, MD. His healthcare experience was quite different than mine.
WOW. Now I know what good looks like and so do you. No wonder ThedaCare has the highest quality and the lowest cost of any ACO in the nation.
What can be done to achieve this across the nation? It’s a multifaceted approach. Our job as patients and consumers of healthcare is not to be content with the status quo (my visit experience) and seek out those providers that demonstrate the ThedaCare like experience. I’m considering having my care in Northeast Wisconsin! It’s the provider’s job to look at their behaviors, systems and processes with a new lens and make the necessary changes. It’s the payer’s job not to pay for work that wasn’t done right the first time and not to pass the cost of defects back to the consumer (my lost lab test).
The future is here and it’s possible--high quality care at a low cost that is centered around the patient. Just imagine, no WAITS, WASTE, FRUSTRATION and DEFECTS.
Here’s my ask of you:
Share this video far and wide, because seeing is believing. (We also have a few more on our YouTube channel--https://www.youtube.com/user/ThedaCareCenter) Share with your providers, friends, family and colleagues. Show others what good looks like, in the spirit of helping to change healthcare and making every healthcare story a good one.
There are more ThedaCare-like experiences emerging around the world. Do you know of any? If so, let me know so we can highlight them as additional examples of what good looks like.
Helen Zak, President & COO
ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value