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    Physicians need to be more like the Ritz-Carlton to improve healthcare

    There could not be anything more different than the experience one has between checking in at the doctor’s office and checking in to the Ritz-Carlton.

     

    Further reading: A physician's note to healing after Harvey devastation

     

    When patients check in to a typical doctor’s office, they usually have to sign in and then wait to be called. Upon being summoned to the front desk, a clipboard is thrust in front of the patient upon which she must recall her entire medical history. Then, more often than not, she is asked to wait for an indeterminate amount of time, sitting on a hard, plastic chair with only a television blaring ads for prescription drugs or outdated magazines for distraction. Once led back to the exam room, the wait continues. When the doctor is finally ready, they might get 15 minutes together, and nowadays, doctors often need to spend more time staring at a computer screen inputting responses into the electronic health record system.

    At a luxury hotel, it’s fair to say the experience is the opposite of that at a doctor’s office. Yet, that makes no sense, as health is more important than a vacation. And as any doctor will say, spending more meaningful time with a patient is essential for quality care.

    Of course, there are concierge medical practices in which patients pay anywhere from $250 to $25,000 a year to get the “Ritz-Carlton” treatment in their medical care. But to truly reform our healthcare system, we need to bring concierge-level care to every patient.

     

    More advice: How to encourage patients to post online reviews

     

    For a primary care doctor, establishing trust is critical. It means empowering patients to reach out at the first sign of a problem so they can receive treatment early before a condition becomes more serious. It means patients following recommendations to take medications on time and make lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise modifications.

    Next: Building trust with patients

    Horst Schulze
    Horst Schulze was former COO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and was a founding member of the company. He currently serves as CEO of ...

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    • Anonymous
      This is, without a doubt, the most ludicrous article I have ever seen on the issue of improvements in healthcare. The previous comments have well addressed the vast differences between medical care and running a luxury hotel chain (which the author left in 2001. Medicine was different then, too.) I'm curious why Medical Economics chose to give a soapbox to someone so unqualified to opine on this topic. Is it because he's flogging ChenMed, where he sits on the board? chenmed.com/news/horst-schulze-and-herbert-fritch-join-chenmed-board-directors
    • Anonymous
      I would like the Ritz Carleton to be forced to accept whatever payment the government deems "fair" for their services. I'd then like them to have to submit their bill to to the government (or its contractor) for payment. They will then have to amend it 3 times because it'll keep being rejected. Finally, after somewhere around 3 or 4 months later, they'll finally get paid about 30-40% of what they actually billed. When Ritz Carleton runs their business like this, then they can tell us how to run ours. Until then, the author of this article, with his extenive health care knowledge gleaned from his years of working in the hospitality industry, can shove it.
    • Anonymous
      OK before I got out my comment Anonymous pretty much read my mind. I am unable to log in for some reason so I may be anonymous as well. I think the author of the article suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect. I would also ask him this. What if when your customer checked He told you that no matter how great and luxurious your service is, you would be paid the exact same rate as the Motel 6 in the bad part of town because it is, after all a hotel, and one is pretty much the same as another, a bed and a bathroom. By the way, he says Travelocity, his hotel insurance company, says you have to take it, and the Federal Government agrees and you are otherwise in violation of the law. You will be thoroughly investigated and must turn over all of your individual customer records for the last 5 years. If you are found to charge more than the Motel 6 you will be fined,required to make restitution and possibly face jail time. Medicine is no longer a service industry. It is a commodity. No matter how much bigger I grow my soybean or how much I polish it, it is still just a soybean to the buyer. So it all becomes driven by volume in a system in which quality is determined by one and only one measure, price.
    • Anonymous
      OK before I got out my comment Anonymous pretty much read my mind. I am unable to log in for some reason so I may be anonymous as well. I think the author of the article suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect. I would also ask him this. What if when your customer checked He told you that no matter how great and luxurious your service is, you would be paid the exact same rate as the Motel 6 in the bad part of town because it is, after all a hotel, and one is pretty much the same as another, a bed and a bathroom. By the way, he says Travelocity, his hotel insurance company, says you have to take it, and the Federal Government agrees and you are otherwise in violation of the law. You will be thoroughly investigated and must turn over all of your individual customer records for the last 5 years. If you are found to charge more than the Motel 6 you will be fined,required to make restitution and possibly face jail time. Medicine is no longer a service industry. It is a commodity. No matter how much bigger I grow my soybean or how much I polish it, it is still just a soybean to the buyer. So it all becomes driven by volume in a system in which quality is determined by one and only one measure, price.
    • Anonymous
      Why oh why do we give people who obviously know nothing about healthcare a platform to voice an ignorant opinion? The problems in healthcare are so much deeper than this superficial nonsense. It is so insulting to just say "Hey primary care doctors, why don't you just try a little harder and be nice to patients?" As if we are not already killing ourselves trying to keep our heads above water. This makes my blood boil. I think I will stop reading Medical Economics because this is so inflammatory and ridiculous.
    • Anonymous
      Great! Another clueless business type who has never seen a single patient telling us how medicine should be done – and getting it all wrong. _Here_ are some ways we should be more like the Ritz: 1. The Ritz is allowed to set it’s own fees for everything. 2. The Ritz requires a valid credit card up front or you don’t get a “visit”. 3. The Ritz gets full payment immediately at the end of each “visit”. 4. The Ritz near my office charges $244-$900 per “visit”. 5. The Ritz additionally charges $50 per day for parking. 6. The Ritz makes lots of money on ancillary services. 7. The Ritz can actually own businesses it “refers” to and from. 8. The Ritz routinely handles hundreds of customers per day. 9. The Ritz can restrict itself to only rather wealthy, healthy clientele. 10. The Ritz can utilize unlicensed, uncertified, employees. 11. The Ritz sells addictive substances for profit. 12. The Ritz can freely expand its services. 13. The Ritz can get “kickbacks” from business associates. 14. The Ritz can give “kickbacks” to business associates. 15. The Ritz can define its own “standards of care”. When the economics of medicine more closely resembles that of the Ritz, perhaps I'll listen to Mr. Schulze. Until then, I think we should all stop listening to these hospitality industry geniuses. They know not whereof they speak.

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