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Major shift if the Healthcare industry changed "patients" to "clients."


Recently I ordered my prescription through the Kaiser website. Usually I call it in. After securely logging in with more information than you can imagine to get a refill, I was asked for a credit card. I know roughly what this Rx costs, so I did it. BUT what was glaring at me was the fact that there was no total of what this PRODUCT would cost before I purchased from this RETAILER.  They know my plan since I logged in with my ID, location, etc. They should know the DISCOUNT PRICING structure I'm in and be able to give me a cost for this product. This is ECOMMERCE folks. Time to change some thinking.

Why it's important:

Our mindset as the CUSTOMER/CLIENT and SERVICE PROVIDER/RETAILER is key to how we perceive the other. We need our customers, they don't need us. Act like you want to EARN their loyalty.

In Healthcare, the word patient is tossed around hoping for the positive effect that Disneyland has referring to GUESTS and CAST MEMBERS (staff). They know their roles. In healthcare, the word PATIENT is used in a nearly condescending way throughout all documentation. The trained medical professionals (which we see for very little time) are the Doctors or Health Service Provider. It's almost as if we are lucky they take care of us. Ninety percent of the time, we are dealing with customer reps, pharmacy assistants, receptionists. They are all in the business to make SALES through SERVICES and PRODUCTS for the company by not ticking off their CLIENTS.

As salespeople, we value our clients, prospects, strategic partners. We need them. They can choose another company to provide the service or product. Healthcare needs to realize they are in RETAIL. Yes, due to regulations and a government like "untouchable" mentality, it's more difficult to switch providers, doctors and get other quotes for procedures and prescriptions, but it can be done and should be done. The bulk of their business is CUSTOMER SERVICE, EDUCATION, CONSULTATION and then professional services. They need to EARN the legwork we do before we select their company. All of the research is on us. They don't really try to win the deal, do they?

Think about this: Your Physician's Assistant, because the doctor was booked, has told you after consulting the doctor that you need an MRI for shoulder pain you've been having. You may also need surgery. Aside from the worry of the procedure is what will this cost out of pocket. They cannot tell you. They refer you to member services. They cannot tell you. They can perhaps give you a range of $900 - $2500 out of pocket, "depending..." Depending on what?

When you ask for quotes for products, marketing plans, ad campaigns, databases, software installs, app creation, they can give you a quote, right? There may be conditions in there added to protect themselves for variables, but you will have a range. You also have the right to check with another company or three to see if that is the best solution. You may have to pay for an additional consultation, but you may be able to, in this case, avoid surgery and simply heal with physical therapy.

This is a true story. It happened to me. A member services desk visit, a series of passed around phone calls and no one could give me a firm quote on Xrays, MRI, or possible surgery and options. I went out of my plan to a trusted physical therapist who also works with this provider. Her diagnosis: get Xray from provider to confirm break or no break. No MRI needed at this point. Treat like a break and let's work on some gentle stretches to edge toward quicker healing.

Back to provider, asked again, was given quote per X Ray, but no one told me how many they would take. X Rays - check. No break - check. Skipped the providers next recommended guessing path of MRI. Instead went back to physical therapist for a regimen of exercises. Sprains take 2-3 months to heal if they are as bad as mine. I have 85% mobility back and strength is rebuilding. Getting better each day.

Shortness of breath: My provider (Kaiser) had me convinced I was asthmatic. They scheduled me through all allergy, breathing tests and kept ordering more elaborate tests, including allergy tests and wanted to diagnose me with adult onset asthma. It was snowballing. Not one professional I met with considered life changes, listened to anything I was telling them about my current family stresses, etc. I put on the breaks, got a second opinion from outside and started a treatment for stress and "my age" stuff.  Supposed "asthma" is gone, sleeping better, much happier everywhere. 

I tell you these stories because too often people roll over for healthcare providers thinking they are the last word. They are A word, not the last word. They are a RETAILER and you are, or should be, their VALUED CLIENT. It's time to change our roles. It's time for them to figure out their role and that they are replaceable. A little mindset shift is empowering and humbling, depending at which end you are residing.

 This blog is supported by the generous contributions of Clickpoint Software and VanillaSoft

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