IT Employment

Are you doing your whole job, really?

Those in the field of science or tech are valued for their intelligence. But that is only one aspect of what you need to do a great job.

This post previously appeared in November, 2010.

In today's blog I'd like to talk about a somewhat squishy topic that was utmost in my mind recently during a personal event. That topic is empathy on the job, or, rather, lack thereof.

Here's the story briefly: My father went to his family doctor on a Monday about a breathing problem. Since it had been three years since the last battery of tests he'd had, his doctor decided to admit him into the hospital overnight for more tests. So they run the tests that night, up until 12:30 the next morning. They tested parts of his body he didn't even know he still had.

Then we waited. All the next day, and most of the next. Because it is the law of the land, only the admitting doctor can sign the discharge papers. Despite having been paged the second night and half of the third day, the doctor did not see fit to come by.

Now, my dad doesn't complain. This man wouldn't complain if you were repeatedly striking him in the head with a ball peen hammer. But he had convinced himself that he had some terminal illness and they were waiting to break the news to him. We were all held hostage as we waited minute to minute for the doctor, afraid if we left the room she'd come by.

So at one point, my frustration took over and I took some alternative channels to get the doctor's attention. She finally came in late on the third day, not very happy, told my dad that he was in perfect health except for some allergies. Then she signed the papers and breezed out.

Now, I use that extreme example to illustrate what can happen when those in the business of serving others fail to put themselves in the shoes of their customers (or, in our case, patients). Maybe you don't have a scared old man waiting on you, but your end-users have a dependence on you to do ALL of your job. Technical expertise is marvelous but if it stops there--if there is no consideration of the person receiving the benefit of that expertise--then what's the point?

For the IT pro: Accountants can't do reports if the tool you've created for them doesn't operate the way they need it to, so your actions are holding up a part of their lives. If a tool you've created for an end-user takes three times longer than it should because you didn't really take the user's needs in mind when creating it, then that's a problem. The slickest tool in the world is worthless unless it can be used for its intended need. By failing to deliver that, you're not doing all of your job, which is delivering a product that the customer can use.

This need for consideration is true even if it's a matter of completing your part of a project before the next person in line has to do his. A lot of people think, "So what if I miss my deadline by a day or two?" It's a big deal because you can rest assured that someone further down the line, closer to the final deadline, will bear the brunt of those missed interim milestones. You are working with people (who are affected by what you do or don't do) and not some vague concept of "them."

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

50 comments
aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

I used to think like you, get out of my way, train coming through, not responsible for casualties! Then I found that it makes little difference and raises the stress level because you are only as fast as the weakest link in the chain, which will hold up processes. Take your time and mosey along at your own comfortable pace. As someone is breathlessly hopping behind you looking for a moment to slip past, slow down, turn around and stick your foot out. When the bumbling fool trips and falls flat on his face, step on him and giggle as he is left behind, breathless and covered in s**t.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Hit return/Enter once in a while, it makes posts more legible and people will be more inclined to read on.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

The ambulance attendant (EMS) is qualified to make on the spot assessments but with the extreme swelling it is all but impossible to make a solid call of course. Even with the ambulance guy's evaluation, the doctor should still be taking formal, necessary steps to asses the treatment needed. When your son was brought in, it is normal for the EMS to explain vital statistics and offer his own assessment to the doctors, it is up to the doctors to take that information and then plan treatment based on the urgency of known injuries. The doctor was at fault, not the EMS, he's done his job and, obviously without an X-Ray, he's left making a judgement call as to how severe the injuries are. Most important to them are vital statistics and emergent treatments such as uncontrolled bleeding, internal or head injuries. A break is simply not emergency treatment for EMS personnel in such cases.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

I work in the SaaS industry, for my day job, and we are the only company in our market that has onsite development AND support, most others are resellers that rely on their client's third party support. As anyone here knows, Software purchases gain a HUGE benefit from direct support. Our engineers and developers take tech support calls directly, no tired system. Being in the SaaS market, this is an imperative benefit for all clients but many just don't seem to realize the value. If they end up taking a competitors bid, they usually come running back in three years (contract term), in which case I ensure they pay accordingly for product at that point, shoulda listened the first time! :D Your comments are SO true of the type of non-committed support others are providing in our marketplace, our engineers will even make interface changes on the fly to appease clients, without question or extra charges. Need a button added, need to import from your legacy software, whatever needs to be done. It's something you simply cannot get via an outsourced or third party support network.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

They will take you in, fix you up and throw you out the door to make more room for the next guy. A revolving door hospital system. It almost killed me one year though, I'd had a bad car accident where I was hit broadside by a drunk in an 18 wheeler. Despite being unconscious for almost 5 minutes and then in and out while in the ambulance, they put 12 stitches in the side of my temple (after removing glass fragments for 30 minutes) and let me go. Standard procedure is to keep you overnight if you've been unconscious. 8 Days later, brand new car and had relapse and passed out while driving home. Ran red light, broadsided by a firetruck and in a coma for 6.5 weeks, about a year of recovery. learning to write, walk and talk again (no motor skills at all). Of course suing doctors here is not a daily practice and takes a lot of time effort and money. But I sued the first driver as the second accident was a result of the first. Long story short, they should have kept me in the first time and checked me out properly. Any neurosurgeon would have kept me under observation and followed up, with me not driving in the interim. So speed kills, even in hospitals, but they sure as heck don't keep people hanging around to make more money here, it just doesn't work that way. Private health care, which is also available in Canada now, is even faster. They will take you in for spinal surgery in the morning and you are out in the afternoon, with a $6K bill. (probably cheap by US private practice standards though)

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

If I was paid to. When salary cuts and other company drawbacks come into place, I am a strong believer in that you get what you pay for. So at best I'll throw out 50% effort most days, any more is just theft of my time and effort. Good attitude? Try my bosses attitude and you'd be on board with me right away.

mdelphia
mdelphia

In general it's more enticing to work for a successful company than a struggling company. Those that can, often leave struggling companies, especially when there's a leadership issue. If the company is struggling long enough, it becomes rank with mediocrity. That goes for management as well as direct labor. Those remaining are showing up for paychecks, accrued vacation time and the fact their skill sets have atrophied. These places are run on old timers who are "experts" on legacy products and have little interest in leading edge technology. It's sad when a new high level manager comes in and realizes what he's got to work with. He knows the talent he needs won't be attracted and he either becomes part of the problem or leaves himself.

brian.olson
brian.olson

I have done a LOT of helpdesk work over the years. Griping about the medical stuff aside - When an email hits the helpdesk, members of our team will often send an immediate reply of "On it!" or "Calling now" to let both the user and the other team members that someone is on it. If we can't get to it immediately, a simple "We are shorthanded at the moment, we will get to you as soon as we are able." Seems to alleviate the griping. I do my best to both remote and call at the same time (users all over the country, it's kind of neccesary). This avoids any impersonal feelings. If I am on the phone telling them I am going to fix it - I get MANY sighs of relief. Once all is well, I send a recap email to the user and the helpdesk group so everyone knows what went down, what the solution was and any follow up / instructionals that need to be sent. A little communication goes a LONG way.

andrew232006
andrew232006

I agree it is important for tools to do everything it needs to do. But often having it do everything the end user wants it to do is an impossible task. What they want can be a very time consuming and costly project that offers little utility. Secondly, what they want will change over the development of the project and sometimes contradict what they wanted before if you let it. All this is horribly complicated by office cultures that refuse to separate what they need from what they want and have constantly shifting "urgent" priorities. Also, if I did all my job, I wouldn't sleep. Many people aren't in a position to do everything people need from them. They need to prioritize some parts of their jobs over others or they'll quickly burn out and won't be any help to anyone and maybe unemployed. I think the doctor failed to prioritize 3 days of a patients time over other duties. And I think the hospital failed to have another doctor available to discharge him or failed by creating a bureaucratic rule that kept other doctors from doing so.

bjtrexel
bjtrexel

IF not - Get OUT, of the road. . ! Lead or Follow - but DON'T block the road! - Office, work, Career - WHERE EVER! - As we learned at school: Achieve the Honorable - - At Least - ACHIEVE!

joshuaburke
joshuaburke

The needs of the many, are ultimately the needs of the one. It's been my personal distortion of Mr. Spock's sage words and a personal motto. In this world of high touch, high availability and high accountability it has to be THE way that business gets done. Ultimately business rests on it. No matter how big the organization you will always deliver to the "one" end user. Love your neighbor as yourself, build it for them like you would build it for you, design it for them with the same care you would take to make it for your grandma, what ever it is. Train them with the same attention that you want to see when you go to training and so forth. It's not hard to conceive, but it is hard to deliver. In that divisional access profile that is supposed to apply to almost everyone, the deliverable is to the one. If you can make that switch though, you'll be the difference maker, the short-cut, the visionary, the go-to guy and that drives up your value. A company cannot value it's employees, instead, the people in the company value each other, and that's how it gets done. No matter how you slice it, the individual is the difference maker, on both sides of the equation. Think about that when you are designing "solutions" for companies, divisions, departments, work groups, teams, and those ever present "exceptions to the rule."

Becca Alice
Becca Alice

The point is how we come over and how we treat the "patient" whether we know better or not. I have users who think it's the worst thing in the world that they forgot their password and are "bothering" me. I make sure to reassure them that I'm really glad that's what they're calling about because it means they're *not* calling to tell me the building is on fire, and if they're a serious beat-themselves-up type, to reassure them that I forget mine sometimes too. I have users who have no idea why they are on the back burner, and I give them a brief list of what we're working on and an eta for when we'll be able to extricate ourselves. There are times when we have a system outage and we have no eta because we haven't figured out the problem yet, and I find that in those cases nothing stems spreading panic like sending a really quick note that says we've got the guys in the server room taking a look and I'll let them know the status as soon as I hear. This isn't just a kindness to the customer, it's a sensible business move - if the customer doesn't dread calling me for a password reset he's less likely to badmouth me to his neighbor and eventually get back to my boss. If the customer doesn't think he's been forgotten entirely he's less likely to take it to the top executive in the food chain. If the customer knows we're looking at their problem they're less likely to complain back and forth across the entire agency and build the impression that IT is the problem itself. I had a group of known "problem users" who had their own distribution list where they would immediately work each other into a lather about any system problem, until I started telling them how much I appreciated them letting us know about issues so we can fix them quickly because their work is important to us all. Now they pop out a question to each other on the list when they're seeing a problem to check whether others are as well, and copy the mail to me so I see replies which let me know whether we have a single user issue or a widespread problem. When I see we have a widespread problem, I let them know what I'm doing to address it, whether it's sending someone to check the servers, siccing a DBA on the issue, or talking to their desktop tech about software compatibility issues from a new Java version. When the situation is ongoing I give them an update every few hours and if I don't have a solution yet I ask them further questions about the issue, and when it's done I ask them to test for me to verify it's all right and thank them for their help. I get an early alert system for weird issues that I don't have a way to set alarms for, they get ongoing information, I get a beta tester group both to check symptoms and test solutions, and all of us are cheerful at the end of the issue. Good customer service makes good business sense and makes my day easier as well as making it a pleasure to talk with long-term customers who are happy I'm the one on the other end of the email. The doctor (intern or resident) who kept a gentleman trapped for three days is not only being a jerk, but is also setting herself up for a serious fall if that behavior comes to the attention of her Chief, and adding a very interesting footnote to any lawsuit that happens to come up if she's been negligent about an issue that impacts her patient's health. She's also deprived herself of a shared smile, what a waste! ^_^

joeller
joeller

I have always felt that the potential user needs to be involved in any application I am designing. That is why I have constant design reviews and tests with them before I roll anything out. But the project I am working on now is had module leads that control the way the modules work. However, on many occasions, once the fleet gets it, they either don't use the tools or screw up their use because the module leads never consulted with the fleet on their use. So although I have never forgotten that my work is being designed for use by the war fighter, because of the intervening layers of management, you don't get any feedback until after the tool is rolled out and made accessible to the fleet. I don't know of a way around this.

laseray
laseray

It can be a serious mistake to trust "the experts" and it becomes the well-known bike shed mistake quickly. Expertise is fine, but people are human and imperfect. One should never completely give over their executive powers to another. Make sure people do their jobs completely for you. Don't wait around for them to do it. Doctors are one group that are notorious for this lingering on, and people typically put too much faith in them.

Not~SpamR
Not~SpamR

I remember working with a user a few years back where it seemed every which way I turned around she moved the goalposts regarding what she wanted, even to the point of saying she "couldn't help misunderstandings" when the report I created matched her drawn outline perfectly but she'd just changed her mind (again). Ultimately it turned out she was afraid that as soon as she signed off the project as complete she'd drop right to the back of the queue for any updates and that anything new would be A New Project that would have to be scheduled for some time several months in the future. As soon as she realised that my job was to make her job easier and that since my team was the RAD team we could and would respond to small changes quickly without endless form-filling, she was happy as anything and signed off what she came to regard as "Phase 1" as complete. I grew heartily sick of IT wonks who wanted to use the latest and greatest technology to make their CV look good when what they delivered to the end user didn't work. By the same token I remember leaving one guy who interviewed me somewhat stunned when I said I didn't care about the latest technology, I cared about producing a system that worked for the users using whatever technology was appropriate. I think that attitude alone blew my competition clean out of the water and landed me what became a very lucrative contract.

pbohanna
pbohanna

A few years ago my teenage son was on his bike and got hit by a car. Both legs were damaged, minor cuts on one leg, the other leg was ripped open. The wounds were covered and an ambulance took him to hospital (this is in New Zealand). When I got to hospital my son was waiting to go into surgery and he said that his leg was in pain. I asked the surgeon if he had x-rayed the leg and he told me that he did not need to because the ambulance guy had told him (the surgeon) that his leg was not broken. The ambulance guy had explained that because my son was in shock he only thought that his leg was in pain because of how it looked. I told the surgeon and the registrar, (who agreed with the surgeon), that I was sure that my sons leg was broken just under the knee and should be x-rayed. After arguing with the surgeon and the registrar and getting nowhere, another doctor came in to see how my son was doing and suggested taking an x-ray of both legs - what a good idea. My sons leg was broken. The ambulance guy should have stuck to his own job, and the surgeon should have known better.

sabiodun
sabiodun

Nice article. We also need to look at from this perspective... what if the accounts department fails to do the needful at pay time, how would i feel about that? After-all, it is just a delay of a day or two...... serves us all IT people right, right?

Texas T
Texas T

Sometimes, the little act can have the greatest impact.

zyzygy
zyzygy

I'm a backups guy, and sometimes my end users get hung up about a backup that didn't work, or a report that didn't happen. Now I could and often do jump to and address their immediate concerns, but if push comes to shove I'll skip it. Why? Because more important than their one backup getting done is the big picture, that the offsite copies get made on time for the courier to pick them up and get them away. That there is a daily point of consistency created and that it has everything needed in it. One server's missed backup overnight means nothing. What the user really wants though he doesn't know it is that when the big earthquake hits (we're on a fault line here and one is overdue), or a power surge goes through that fancy disk array, that I can get his data back. Not for that one server... he may have to go back a day, but for everything else.

seanferd
seanferd

And it drives me bat**** insane to have to work with and for these types. I get damn near all my support and consideration from my clients, who really should be bringing the hammer down on my management.

tjanzer
tjanzer

Good post Toni! Of course this has application in a lot of other areas besides, doctors, end users and outsource people. Most notably, empathy (remember, thats what we started off talking about?), also is needed when managers start making promises which their subordinates have to make good on. Too often these directives are issued without due consideration of other departments. Even when well-intended, they are often ill-conceived with no thought given to the impact on the people who have to carry them out. Rarely is any consideration given to the fact that the rest of the workload those subordinates are responsible for has not gone away just so they can attend to this new imperative. This most often occurs when said subordinates have multiple "bosses" who all feel they should be given the highest priority whenever they walk down the hall and demand something. Here is where "managing up" becomes an invaluable skill. It can be most effective (and sometimes quite entertaining) to push these conflicting requests back up the ladder and have the "bosses" slug it out to determine who really gets top spot when there simply isn't time or resources to do it all.

yattwood
yattwood

The glitzy, beguiling Power Point presentations of the outsourcing companies do not, in general, mesh with the _lived_ experience of the _remaining_ workerbees who have to DEAL with the outsourcer's personnel AND their local users. Used to getting your password reset by your local IT support? Outsourcer: Submit a request, wait 1 - 10 hours for it to be done. Complain, or fill out a "survey" - and absolutely nothing happens Used to having your DBA, your Windows, your UNIX support work with you to get your requests done? Outsourcer: Submit a request, it will be rerouted for a week or more to the wrong group, then sit somewhere until two levels above the user's management complains, and then it MIGHT be done. And whatever remaining local support there is, has to ARGUE with the outsourcer's DBA's, Windows and/or UNIX personnel about what should be done on the servers (which BELONG to the COMPANY, not the OUTSOURCER)

mdtallon
mdtallon

I'm a bit surprised not to see the issue of feedback addressed. I have a client that I have created well over 100 reports for over the last three years. This is on the management level; they have no interest in learning anything about the application and they're usually annoyed with the interviewing process to pin down their needs. I have never received a word of feedback after the reports have been completed and I have even creted a tool to see if the reports are being accessed. Less than a dozen of them have even been used once. Truly I am at a loss as to why these requests are even given to me. I would even find more satisfaction if they were to tell me I screwed up. It's only cha-ching that keeps me responding.

DerrickD
DerrickD

That's pretty nice of the doctor to run up the hospital bill for the insurance company.

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

First, you said that the admitting physician had to discharge the patient. That is not true - my guess is the attending physician or another physician with the authority did not want to discharge the patient until the admitting physician was able to review the case and either concur or suggest additional tests. In the case of your experience with the hospital, it sounds like their was either a lack of communication or a lack of someone else taking ownership in the experience. But bringing your example further, I would like to share an experience I had that I would consider it to be rare. I am an analyst - I build databases and datamarts, but occasionally I need access to other databases (so I can either link or import data for analysis). I requested access of a certain table, and it turns out, there were two very similar tables. The person who assigns priveleges needed to know what was the precise table. We emailed a third person, but by the time he responded, the original DBA was on vacation. The original DBA had his emails forwarded to a third person who actually granted access while on vacation, and allowing me to complete the project. I was so pleased with the service. Coming back to your father's visit in the hospital. Had the admitting physician clearly indicated why your father was in the hospital and what he/she wanted to gain by the admission, perhaps some other physician could have discharged the patient in such a way that the patient and their family was happy, and the admitting physician was also satisfied.

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

Good article. The "Golden Rule" of thinking has been forgotten by most. I strive to be proactive and provide excellent service, knowing that I could be on the receiving end someday. I get more pride and feel better about myself when I help others and don't think of myself, which I see most people do today (being selfish). Maybe this generation will learn and think more of others and not themselves and things like what happened to your dad won't happen (glad to hear he's okay). Thanks and have a Happy Thanksgiving! EMD

German680
German680

Lol, So prity much your having a go at the Doctor.

sk-etc
sk-etc

A most interesting article that hits the nail on the head as far as what is affecting proper service delivery. A substantially large number of service providers are guilty of this fundamental trait they must be mindful of if they are to at least satisfy their customers, let alone delight them. Many businesses crash these days and they attribute it to bad times/ state of the economy etc. without realizing that a major cause is loss of customers to their competitors who provide a "better" service that is expected.This is a must read for all managers.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

That's how I approach personal work diagnosing and repairing cars. As for work work, not a bloody chance! The company can crash and burn for all I care.

joeller
joeller

That is the kind of good customer service I would like. Here I've been complaining about one of the Navy's NMCI windows 7 machines locking up for four months require at least three hard reboots a day. Each response I get addresses some totally unrelated issue. (This last time they escalated the ticket for supposed lack of network connectivity. There is nothing wrong with my network connectivity.) If you don't listen to the problem how can you ever expect to solve it. One comment as I read the original article, the doctor was neither a resident or an intern. It was the father's family, (i.e. private practice) doctor. So there is no Cheif for her action to come to the attention. Which is why she can get away with such behavior.

joeller
joeller

In the US the X-Rays would have been taken even if there had only been a scrape. I had a catus thorn way in under my thumb nail. It was visible through the Nail. After trying to get it out myself, I went to an urgent Care center to get it removed. Despite the fact that the thorn was clearly visible, they felt compelled to take an X-Ray. And they wonder why insurance costs keep rising>

joeller
joeller

The same kind of support being povided to the Navy and the Marine Corps by people running NMCI (the Navy, Marine Corps Intranet), and the Navy's centralized Data Centers.

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

About a lack of communication being the issue, but the doctor ignored pages for a day and a half after the tests were done. So I blame miscommunication, poor time management, and a WHOLE lot of arrogance.

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

She got an earful from me at the hospital as well.

silvergrrl
silvergrrl

Potential insurance fraud. Hospital stays are expensive, and generally the bill is calculated on a per-day basis. An extra day here with this patient, an extra day there with that one... it adds up.

GSG
GSG

This doctor was completely out of line, and the hospital needs to look at their policies about who can admit and discharge. Not only that, but I'd write a letter of complaint to the hospital, and cc the insurance company and refuse payment for the extra hours in the room. Hospitals are required to have a QA and Compliance officer, and are required to address any complaints and get back to you within a certain period of time, so if you contact that person, you'll be gauranteed a response. It may not be the one you want, but you'll get one.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Is that 50% of the actual cost of treating a patient or 50% of what they would NORMALLY charge for treating a patient, which is of course grossly inflated from where it needs to be? Losing money on 75% of patients: Again, are they really losing money or are they earning less profit treating patients than they used to earn. I ask because so far, European hosiptals are showing profits and have been delivery health care programs for centuries. In Canada, we pay $64/mo for health care, and somehow we manage to keep the doors open too. Doctors and nurses are always complaining that they don't earn enough but then again, who isn't? They are always talking about cutbacks and how it negatively effects patient care, however I have spent extensive time in many hospitals and always found the care to be extremely good. We've all read the 'stories' abotu Canadian patients being denied care or put on to eternal waiting lists when they feel they will die. Fact of the matter is, our health care operates on an urgency basis, not a 'who's got the most money basis'. Sure, MR's Hapshaw can get a new hip if she goes to the states tomorrow and spends insane amounts of money. IN Canada she is on a waiting list because she doesn't NEED a new hip right now, most often it's a case where they don't even recommend it, against less invasive surgery that will produce better results. However, Mrs. Hapshaw insists she needs a new hip, smears the Canadian health board to every eager gossip paper she can find and then spends $240K having hip surgery in the USA which was most likely not needed anyway. OF course, what doctor is going to turn down such an opportunity, especially where self diagnosis is so common. So where did the US system differ so far from other proven, effective systems that don't go broke?

silvergrrl
silvergrrl

Health care reform has not kicked in yet, except in minor ways. And even when it does, in general it will not affect traditional Medicare coverage. Under Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) the patient pays an $1100 deductible and then an additional daily copay if the stay is longer than 60 days. Extra unnecessary hospital days is one of the things that drives Medicare spending up, which is a negative impact to everyone.

GSG
GSG

What the new health care reform did is very little except raise costs and reduce payments to hospitals who lose money on every Medicaid, Medicare, and self-pay patient. When I say lose money, I don't mean lose profit, I mean not even meeting 50% of the cost of treating the patient. When your mix of those 3 categories is 75% of your case mix, or more, then you are losing money on 75% of your patients, and the 25% that are left have to make up the difference just to keep the doors open. It doesn't help when you have a provider like Toni dealt with, because that provider not only provided bad service, but hospitalized a patient that didn't need to be, took up a bed and other resources that are now not free to treat another patient, and in general increased the cost of overhead for the hospital. Medicare will most likely deny payment for the majority of the tests, and the hospital will have to eat that cost, all because the provider couldn't be bothered to provide decent service to her patient.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Didn't the new insurance plans take care of hospital costs? Sorry, I've never paid to be in the hospital so it's all a bit foreign to me, even when hospitalised state side, my Canadian plan with extended benefits covered it all for me.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Always seeing new bits on underpaid doctors, a shortage of beds and how small hospitals are closing down yada-yada wah wah waaah! One of my best friends is a doctor and his wife a surgeon, they say the were both paid very well even when starting out. They have never had an admission issue due to a shortage of beds and patients are not passed up for necessary treatments, as the news here likes to constantly propose. Everyone I know, including myself (who I sorta know too, but find rather confusing), has had excellent treatment, service from nurses and interns, emergency procedures etc are all very quickly taken care of and the level of care i have received from numerous hospitals has been phenomenal. Then again, I have an old friend who is bi-polar, has stopped taking her fistful of meds a couple of years ago, has a history of HepC and intravenous drug use and is in hospital AGAIN. They say she has killed her liver, and a transplant was very risky. They gave her about 2 years. She was told that in order to be stable for surgery, she would have to improve her health still, which may take a good year. They have her on an outpatient program, which she ignores as she doesn't feel well. SO then they admit her and force the right stuff into her via IV. When she's healthy enough for transplant surgery, she will get a transplant and hopefully it will work, yet it is quite doubtful, though they will still perform the surgery when she gets herself in shape for the operation. In the meantime, she's been whining to newspapers, local rags etc about how the hospital has given up hope and is letting her die instead of giving her an imperative operation, not the case at all. If the press prints it she'll get sympathy, the hospital gets smeared around the news and everyone thinks the health care system failed her and let her die. This is a friend of mine, I am actually on her side and don't want to see her die, despite the life she once led that has brought her to where she lays now. For her to try and bitch slap people that have her best interests in mind and are trying to help her as best they can, without literally restraining her and forcing her to get better. It really bugs me that she is that ungrateful and blind to the reality she is living, to the point that she would try and perpetuate the lies about our health care system again. It happens all the time though, people WANT something, but don't live up to their end of the deal and then complain that it was done wrong.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

You mentioned German680 who is in Australia, but you replied below GSG, who is an American with extensive experience in the US Health Care industry.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the funding, staff, or support services to look after the people in the beds. Most of this is due to huge amounts of money chewed up in the federal and state government health department bureaucracies that have blown out since the huge theft of community property in the mid 1980s after the introduction of the Hawke ALP government Medicare legislation and extra tax. Now almost half the people employed in government health department funded positions are administrative staff that do NOT do direct hospital work paperwork - they do the management paperwork for the various levels of management. Edit to add - sorry, missed this the first time around and just noticed it due to it being resurrected.

eclypse
eclypse

That was a pretty excellent detail of how things work in the US. They all underscore the real problem in that the patient is really not the customer, the insurance company is the customer. Since they're going to get paid no matter what they do or don't do to you, and you're ultimately not the one to determine that, they can treat you however they like. Throw in all the added government regulations and you get even more of a mess. Just wait until Obamacare is fully implemented. Medical care is going to be much worse before it even has a chance to get better.

bjtrexel
bjtrexel

In australia - they Also - drive on the "wrong" side of the road! . . Don't start on the "military" hospitals.!.!

joeller
joeller

You and German680 don't understand. In the US the only doctors that work for the hospitals are newly graduated doctors doing their internship. The other doctors have their own outside practice and have a "relationship" with one or more hospitals. This doctor was the patient's personal doctor. She decided to send him to the hospital. Then once he was admitted she promptly forgot about him for three days. So the Chief Medical Officer has no jurisdiction over this private physician. And the reason some doctors have extraordinarily heavy workloads is their own decision to double and triple book patient appointments. I showed up at 9:15 AM for a 9:30 appointment at an orthopedist. I finished my paperwork and was ready at 9:30. Then I found out that this doctor had scheduled three people for 9:15, three more for 9:30, and three more for 9:45, etc. Since my PCP had referred me to him, I waited until 10:45, then I had to leave because I had another appointment. That practice lost my business and I went another where an appointment was considered an appointment. However, I could do this only because my insurance company did not require referrals for me to see a specialist. If I had one of my previous companies I would still be waiting. The reason that now only the admitting doctor can authorize dischage is because until recently hospitals would discharge patients whether the patient was better or not, because the insurance companies would only authorize a stay of x days for each specific reason. (My mom had back surgery and was discharged the next day without seeing the surgeon again because Kaiser only allowed one day for that type of surgery.) However, it seems to me that the extra days costs should be reported as Medicare or insurance fraud by the doctor, the hospital or both.

GSG
GSG

In my hospital, this doctor would be yanked in by the Chief Medical Officer so fast her head would spin. Of course, we have hospitalists, who do the admitting and discharging for most patients, so this would be a very rare occurence. It takes no time to return a page, so a busy work load is not an excuse.

seanferd
seanferd

Never mind the quality of care for the patient himself. If there was no reason for Toni's father to be in the hospital, the doctor should have released him immediately. Now, I know how it is with some doctors, especially if the admitting doctor is a surgeon or otherwise in a position to be locked into a task for hours on end*, but one that can't come by within two days to sign paperwork is a moron. * Been there, done that. Surgeon was in emergency surgery for 20-odd hours, and quite unable to sign the release forms. edit: But we've been blown off at least once, like Toni's father, for a couple of days.

German680
German680

No, These doctors have huge work loads, Unless you were in a private hospital these wait times are not that bad lol, But it might be different in America. Australian Hospitals are bad, We don't have as many beds as we need so this would of never happened.