Years ago I was working with New York City as an EMT out of Queens General Hospital. I remember being in shock after picking up an otherwise non-ill appearing man who gave a complaint that I currently cannot recall. We took him in a city ambulance to the local hospital. The part that shocked me was that he never entered the hospital. He thanked us and proceeded to go across the street to do his shopping. He never was sick and never intended to enter the ED doors. We served as free transportation for him.
Emergency services selects for a unique “customer” base. This customer base is comprised of the truly ill and the desperate, those who have no where else to turn for care, as well as those with poor coping skills and a naiveté regarding emergency care realities and, on occasion, those with secondary gain interests. What is being measured is the perception of quality in care and not quality of care. The survey industry has duped the hospital administrators who are trying to promote their “businesses”. Kind, considerate, thoughtful care, with a focus on the patient is absolutely paramount. Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics and addictive narcotics, exposure to potentially harmful unnecessary studies, especially in developing children, as well as further straining an already economically burdened health care system are just some of the products of blinding following these surveys. The survey industry has duped hospital administration into believing that the same system used to evaluate customer service at my auto dealership translates to all niches of hospital care. Obviously, it doesn’t. Blind focusing on these surveys without true reflection on their source and meaning will lead to many patients becoming victims.