September 27, 2008

Secret List Serve

It was a mistake. I have no idea how I got on a small, private list serve for hospital administrators who focus on patient relations. From what I can tell, they are the customer service folks at a hospital. Their job focuses on patient safety, satisfaction, and how to makes sure we don’t sue their asses when the hospital or its employees screw up. I find their emails extremely entertaining. In fact, I’m somewhat hesitant to even blog about it, because if they find out I’m an accidental spy, I know they’ll kick me off the list.

The most recent exchange was about ‘service recovery’. When a hospital loses your films, or double books an appointment and sends you home when you took a day off of work and drove 2 hours to get there, or forgot to check the correct box on your blood test slip, how do they say “We are sorry?” Through service recovery. They want to makes sure you 1. Don’t report them, and 2. They don’t lose you as a customer.

One member shared a document about the program at his hospital. This is the description of the program that they hand out to hospital employees. (I’ve cleverly changed the name.)

“The XYZ Program, a very effective customer service recovery tool, has been in place since 2000. The program empowers employees to better serve an unhappy patient or customer. XYZ interventions must be done with forethought and judgment…we trust our staff to use it with care. XYZ gifts are not intended to gloss over problems, but rather to take ownership for them and initiate remedial action. This effort is directed at making the customer feel better about the organization.”

Okay, so I want to know what this big gift is that initiates remedial action. It must be pretty special, not only because we are talking about remediation potentially life threatening mistakes, but because they are warning their staff to use a lot of forethought and judgment. Do they credit your bill? Promise you Lyonnaise salads and chocolate Eclairs during your next hospital stay? Give you a pass to the penthouse hospital room? Close: they give you a bouquet from the hospital gift shop or a friggin cheese basket. I’m sorry but if my hospital misplaces my records and then adds insult to injury by serving me up either a hunk of Jarlsberg or a vase of carnations and baby’s breath, you better believe I’m reporting their ass to the Joint Commission.

Stay tuned for my posting later this week when I define true remediation and serious butt kicking actions you can take against your hospital, before or after they placate you with cheese.

Until then, have any of you receive floral, culinary, or other pacifiers from your hospital after they have screwed up?

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Comment(s)

  1. Heather Says:
    September 30th, 2008 at 10:13 AM

    Number One. I love that you, of all people, have accidentally gained access to a private list serve about patient care issues.

    Number Two. How freakin offensive is it that they think that someone can be assuaged by a… cheese basket? Really?


  2. Lisa F. Says:
    October 3rd, 2008 at 1:06 AM

    seriously? a cheese basket?? WTF?!

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