I want to start this week’s Grand Rounds’ blog with my own blog post. I asked for postings on customer service and I have one to share. My 17-year-old son has been having some issues with depression and social anxiety. We got him in to see a therapist and his family practitioner prescribed a low dose of Prozac, both of which seemed to be helping until he hit a crisis when his girlfriend broke up with him. He literally fell apart and scared us to death.
His therapist called me back the night of the crisis within 5 minutes of my leaving a message with the answering service. He was only in town for a week before leaving for vacation, but he saw our son twice and called our son’s primary care doctor to suggest upping the antidepressant dose. The doctor called me one evening to say she totally concurred and, since our son’s therapist would be out of town the following week, wanted to see our son herself.
I was so touched. I have never had an MD (who wasn’t a psychiatrist) want to see me (or anyone in my family) for anything other than a strictly physical illness. Not only that, but I knew that she was dealing with her own health crisis–a 6-month-old with Down Syndrome who had just undergone open heart surgery. Her caring and understanding literally made me cry; and my son really enjoyed talking to her. She–and my son’s therapist–have restored quite a lot of our faith in clinicians, not to mention our son’s mental health.
Now, onto the blogs!
Although I asked for blogs related to customer service in medicine, I did promise those would not be the only ones I would highlight. Along those lines, I have to be selfish and nominate a blog I work on, Pediatric Perspectives, which provides topics of note for community pediatricians and family practitioners. The blog is supported by the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and written by yours truly with the incredibly fabulous input of many of the hospital’s clinical staff. The most recent posting is on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations on swimming lessons for kids.
Enough self promotion!
Do want to know what life is like for surgeons? How about a surgeon from the nearly unpronounceable town of Mpumalanga, South Africa (yes, the same country in which the Soccer World Cup is now occurring). Then check out “Other Things Amanzi.” This week the surgical resident shares his experiences with the busiest rotation of all: vascular surgery.
Initiate Systems, an IBM-owned healthcare IT company one might never think of when it comes to medical blogs, let alone ones based on customer service, just posted a fantastic blog by Jamie Welch, Chief Information Officer at the Louisiana Rural Hospital Coalition, Inc about using information to improve rural health care. The post contains some great metrics and a case study demonstrating how medical customer service has improved for underserved patients in rural Louisiana.
Meanwhile, Initiate’s director of product marketing, Deanna Nole, wrote a post last winter on how to use relationships to improve patient care.
Want to hear about customer service from the patient perspective? Then hop over to the Life of a Grad Student with Lupus. This is not a hearts-and-roses kind of blog, but that one that hits hard where it hurts–and one that any clinician in the field should be reading to get a sense of how what you say and do impacts your patients.
How about customer service from the perspective of one who lives on the other side of the “pond?” That’s what Henry Stern’s INSUREBLOG offers. The blog covers insurance issues, principles and solutions related to healthcare in the UK. The one we’re highlighting here is a frightening post about how 3,000 patients die each year because of short staffing in UK hospitals over the weekends.
Ever wondered how care from hospitalists could translate into better customer service? To find out, you have to read Chris Langston’s thoughtful post on the topic at health AGEnda, the John A. Hartford Foundation blog.
Other recommendations this week:
Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis, courtesy of practicing primary care doctor David Liu, who provides insight into what patients must do to stay healthy and spend wisely as the healthcare system spirals into expensive anarchy.
Diabetes Mine. I have to admit to doing quite a lot of work in the diabetes arena these days (after all, you ARE reading a blog by the co-author of the “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Type 2 Diabetes“). Even so, the topic of Amy Tenderich’s latest post, about a California ruling that only nurses can administer insulin to diabetic kids at school, sent chills down my spine. See if you feel the same by reading the post.
Better Health. This is the web site that roped me into hosting Grand Rounds and whose owners I so admire! So read Better Health’s submission for this week’s Grand Rounds: A Man is Not Equal to the Sum of his Medicine Problems, highlighting the uniqueness of every patient through the chilling anecdote of a man who had been misdiagnosed with kidney disease.
That’s it for this week! If you’re interested in getting into Grand Rounds next week, check out the details from Dr. Elaine Schattner of Medical Lessons.