Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bad User Experience #003: Waiting 2 times at the doctors office

The purpose of this article is to present you with an example of a common poor user experience that has rooted itself deep into our culture, and is likely not going anywhere any time soon.

Image this, you wake up one day and feel a little bit ill. You reach over to your phone, hold the button in and say "Siri, get my doctor!" at which point your phone would simply make arrangements to have your doctor come visit you.

picture of a doctor and a lady looking down at a child in a bed. The doctor has a flashlight that he is using to shine line into the child's mouth so that he can see better.Yes, that's far fetched. In fact, that is so extremely far from where we are today. In the 1920 and 30's a docs visit was not uncommon. Transportation and communication were both more difficult and took longer, so if you needed a doctor, it was just easier for them to come to you. By the 1960's, house calls comprised about 40% of the patient / doctor relationship. As time marched on, we find that not only are house calls somewhat taboo, but that there seems to be a disconnect in patient / doctor experience.

A while back, I decided that it was be fine for me to go in the back yard and practice doing cartwheels with my 7 year old daughter. Yikes, being 34 years old has it's limitations. It didn't seem hurt at the time, but then the days following, I noticed that my arm was starting to hurt in my elbow. I decided I'd go visit the doctor...

When I got there, I check in to let them know I was there. "We need you to pay the co-fee before we can get you checked in."

"Okay," I said, "but what if the doctor can't figure out what's wrong with my arm? Do I get the money back?"

"Sorry sir, this pays for his time slot. Go ahead and have a seat. A nurse will be with you shortly".

It wasn't shortly at all. I wait, and waited. I read magazines. I checked my email. There were sick people all around me. I'm quite certain that I was exposed to Malaria, Foot Fungus, and likely other very yucky, very contagious ailments. To my left were a bunch of snotty kids playing with the sickness toys in the kid area. One of the kids wiped his nose with his hand, then picked up a toy and began playing with it. Wow. Easy. I thought to my self, "I gotta get out of here!"

picture of a very angry looking nurse.Just then, my name was called from across the waiting room. I was greeted by a lady who had clearly developed an immunity to all ailments including smiling and friendliness. She said "Please come this way", but I'm quite certain that the "Please" was forced. She took me to a room where she made me site on this padded paper-covered table. I tried to make small talk, but she wasn't having it. She was ALL business. She took my vitals, all the while not telling me anything about what she was writing down, or how my vitals reflected my overall normality grade. Finally, she said "The doctor will be with you in a moment" and then left.

Tick-tock, tick-tock... waitin again. "Why am I waiting again" I thought, "I hope they don't make me pay a co-fee again". Looked over to my right... "Oh, magazines! But wait... those are the same magazines I already read. Seriously?!" 

At that point I began looking around for things to play with. "Plastic ear funnels, tongue depressors, cotton swabs... Oh, here we go. Hypodermic needles!" Just then, the doctor found his way to me.

Then the docs appointment went on.

I just have to say that the experience that I just described pretty much sums up each and every visit to the doctor. No part of that experience was good. I purposely stopped at the point in which the doctor came in simply because I didn't feel like explaining how horribly lazy and arbitrary my doctor is in assessing my pain.

If there was ever a service that could use a UX face-lift, it would be the experience that a customer must go through when visiting a docs office.

If you've had such an experience, I'd love to hear about it. If you work in a docs office, please PLEASE here this plea... Consider your customer's experience. I'm quite certain that people would be a whole lot happier paying your high prices if you considered them a little more in your dealings. Can't this be about more than just supply and demand?!?


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