How Two Healthcare Providers Just Lost a Family

Duke Raleigh Hospital Poor ServiceBlue Ridge Family Physicians' Poor Service

This past week a relative began having pains in her back and called our family practitioner on her way home from work.

She was told it was approaching 5:00 and no doctors were available to see her today.

She went home and then called my wife as her pain was increasing.  We called an ambulance to take her to the hospital we have all gone to for 30+ years.

Apparently the situation wasn’t life threatening because we waited in the waiting room for 3.5 hours before getting a bed in the E.R.  Once in the E.R. we had trouble getting any nursing assistance.  After about an hour, the doctor arrived.  The pain had subsided and the doctor expedited the tests so we only spent seven hours in the hospital.

Unfortunately the E.R. doctor was not able to conclusively diagnose what was wrong and advised our relative to check-in with our general practitioner as soon as possible.

The general practitioner finally worked her in three days after her visit to the emergency room.  Unfortunately, “working her in” meant a one hour wait in the waiting room and another 45 minutes before she saw the doctor.

A subsequent meeting with the practice manager was even more disturbing.  When told about how my relative was put off when calling with the initial pain, the practice manager actually said, “I hear that complaint all the time, the young people we have working up front aren’t very sensitive sometimes.”

HELLO, the “young people working up front” are the face of your practice.  You need some new people who understand customer service, especially in the medical field where empathy and sensitivity are even more critical.

Unemployment is 8% where we live — hire some new people or teach the “young people working up front” some customer service skills!

Based on years of study, I’ve got a pretty good idea the owners of the practice, and the owners of the hospital, aren’t very concerned with patient satisfaction.  If they were, their employees would be, or else they’d have different employees.

It’s sad.  We now have to find a new general practitioner and start going to a new hospital.  Luckily, they just opened a new hospital near our home.  We just need to remember to go to that one during the next emergency.  It’s hard to break a 30-year habit, but we will.

In your opinion, are healthcare providers any better, or worse, at customer service than any other industry?

Healthcare was not one of the seven industries Satmetrix measured in their most recent NPS study (


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