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Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Five-Star: That TV In Your Waiting Room...

May 13, 2011Doug Wojcieszak, Founder & Spokesperson Contact phone/e-mail address: 618-559-8168;

FIVE-STAR: THAT TV IN YOUR WAITING ROOM This is another article on Five-Star customer service principles that we hope will help clinicians, practices, and hospitals build strong, loyal relationships with patients and families pre-adverse event - and make saying "sorry" easier and more realistic post- event.

This week's focus: That TV in your waiting room.

I hate it.

Here's why.

I'm a professional person, and when I go to a doctor's office, hospital, or the emergency room, I expect to wait. Waiting is actually OK with me, because I bring along a whole briefcase full of work. Maybe something I need to read or review, or maybe my laptop so I can write one of these columns. But, do you know how some stupid the background? It's like I'm stuck in a real life version of Fahrenheit 451!

It's no good for me, which is no good for you. At the base level, I'm ticked off, and maybe tonight over BBQ at my house when I have a whole group of neighbors over, who are also professionals, I will tell them how I hate your practice. I couldn't get my work done, so now I'm trashing you and your practice, even though you're a fine clinician. And my neighbors will be sympathetic to my plight because they're also busy, over-scheduled people who are trying to squeeze every last second out of the day.

Unreasonable? Probably. Unfair? Maybe. But it's my rant and now it's your problem.

And my friends tell their professional friends, and so on. It's a bad evening for you.

After the flames have gone out on my grill, my anger is still simmering, so I send an e-mail to a bunch of friends or post on Facebook, Tweet, or God knows what.

Maybe I even fill out a survey that dings you on reimbursement, even though you delivered great medical care.

All because of a lousy TV.

I'm a professional person and I'm mad to the point of being unreasonable, but I have the ability, know-how, and resources to share my frustrations about your practice with the world. You lose all because of a stupid TV.

"But some of our patrons really love that TV, Mr. Wojcieszak, and they're not all professional people that bring work. And just because they can't complain effectively like you and your high- powered friends, that doesn't mean their feelings don't count!

Fine, but do they really watch the TV, and do they really care what's on the TV? And does a physician's office, that should be promoting healthy lifestyles, need to be offering TV?

And - here's a critical question - what do you when Billy Bob wants to watch the NASCAR Update, but Bobbie Sue has a burning desire to see a Oprah re-run? How do you split that baby, Solomon? Answer: Get rid of the TV!

And get rid of the outdated and torn up magazines too. And other junk.

Just make your waiting room a nice, welcoming environment. Comfortable chairs, pleasant lighting, maybe even pipe in soft classical or jazz music. Relax me, but you don't have to entertain me....because we can entertain ourselves just fine with work, our kids, a good book, or maybe just good 'ol fashion people watching: "God, she sounds horrible....Boy, does he have ugly looking kids...."

And get rid of other distractions in your office that cause frustrations for all types of patients and families. Look at your practice through the eyes of your customers, from the waiting room to the exit. Survey your customers, both with written surveys, and just as importantly, with in-person questions. Consider hiring mock patients. Get data and use your Five-Star committee to make the necessary changes.

We at the Sorry Works!-Stevens & Lee team can provide Five-Star reviews and consulting for medical practices and hospitals. Let us help you see your environment through the eyes of your customers, and create a positive experience for your patients and families from start to finish.

To learn more, give us a call at 618-559-8168 or e-mail


- Doug

Doug Wojcieszak, Founder Sorry Works! 618-559-8168 (direct dial) PO Box 531 Glen Carbon, IL 62034