Monday, February 22, 2016

Pulling the Health Care Andon – Epilogue

By Pascal Dennis

In my Nov 16 blog I described the indignities my mom faced in a major downtown Toronto hospital. (Not forgetting to acknowledge all the good people we met who worked in this bad system.)

It was personal piece that triggered heartfelt commentary. “This could have happened in any American, British, Australian hospital…” was common refrain.

(Note: Canadians have to use the existing system. The Canadian Health Care Act essentially outlaws private medicine.)

I sent detailed, respectful letters highlighting process problems to senior leaders at the hospital and at the Ministry of Health.

I’ve received nothing back from the latter.

I finally heard back from the former. Here’s how the VP of Patient Affairs responded:

  • Our hospital is just great

  • We have no problems

  • It’s all your fault (and your mom’s)

I’m paraphrasing, of course, but this was the core message – and reflects the nature of the challenge in health care.

How would a top shelf organization respond to honest customer feedback?

How would, say, Toyota, Marriott, Proctor & Gamble, Cleveland Clinic have handled it?

They’d thank the customer, no? Then a deep dive on root causes.

Let me once again recognize & commend all our health care friends and colleagues working to fix all these bad processes.

We have a great deal of work to do, no?

Best regards,


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