Fast Food and Fast Healthcare: For some healthcare organizations, minimizing the time with practitioners and patients can help maximize profits, cautions Dr. Harlan Sparer.
Feb 25, 2016 08:11AM
● By Dr. Harlan Sparer
When most people eat fast food, they usually know they are not eating healthy food. Cheap ingredients and low pay for food preparers and handlers do little to encourage flavor or nutrition. Maximizing profit is the theme today, often at the expense of our health and well-being. This kind of franchising has now extended itself into the healthcare market in a number of areas, such as urgent care clinics, and no matter what the business structure may be of any operation, there are inherently good providers and not-so-good providers.
When franchising a service industry, a non-professional typically inserts themselves into the provider/patient relationship. This can limit compensation to the provider, de-incentivizing excellence. The provider becomes generic and replaceable. Some may merely clock in and clock out at a substantially lower pay scale. They may only sporadically treat their client, often leaving a lack of continuity of care and making well-being a more unreachable goal. More mechanized, cookie-cutter approaches tend to be applied to all patients due to time constraints and franchise imposed policies. Ultimately, the provider has less of a vested interest in personal and professional success, leading to poorer outcomes.
In addition to the lack of personal involvement on the provider’s part, we must examine the quality and caliber of providers that seek a substantial pay cut in order to be fed clientele by their owner. Sometimes, these providers have a deficiency of experience or a deficiency of desire for success. There is a significant detachment of interest in results, too. This is all in the name of the appearance of decreased cost. In the famous words of Ben Franklin, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
The winnowing of providers by frustration in the marketplace may be difficult, but its Darwinian effect is remarkable. The remaining independent providers left standing do actually strive for excellence. When looking for an individual provider, the likelihood for success will rise. Make sure to interview them extensively first, securing the knowledge that they will apply a specific solution after listening carefully to the problem. It is also vitally important that they address prevention and have a beginning, middle and endpoint to any treatment.
Slow food is a growing trend. Slow healthcare should become one, as well.