A day in the hospital

No one enjoys spending their day in the hospital, especially for a whole day before the hospital is open until late afternoon when many doctors are already off work; and especially for two conventional processes: get an Ultrasound diagnosis and let the doctor prescribe, which takes 15 minutes maximum each. This is what I experienced yesterday companying my aunt to hospital, while this endurant experience seems to be no different with most other patients.

Not ironic at all, this famous hospital has probably one of the best service, infrastructure, devices and efficiency in China. After a few visits, counted in the unit of days beforehand, we already knew by heart what exactly we should do to get her waiting ticket for the Ultrasound diagnosis as soon as possible. As well as for the doctor’s consultancy. However, when we managed to get the ticket, there were already 86 people waiting ahead of us. Magically the six doctors in that ward managed to get her the diagnosis after merely 1.5 hours: 6 min/diagnosis! We were, however, not that lucky when we brought the diagnosis to the doctor. The waiting tickets showed we had 122 patients before us, and it took more than 6 hours before she could reach a young inexperienced doctor, giving my aunt little information and almost useless prescription: that she could choose to operate, or not. OK, so what are the consequences of each and what do the most people do? The young doctor doesn’t know.

Is the hospital efficient? Yes. But are the patients happy? No.

I’m not sure what the KPIs are for the hard-working doctors, but the patients are obviously not the center the problem. It looks like the treatments and different processes are broken down separately. Patients have to visit hospital at least a few times unnecessarily. One visit, one small piece of the prescription done, maybe check a bit further or perhaps take a blood test, if you’re lucky. Then you want to go back to see the doctor? Come another day again.

In our case, unluckily, we fell into a young inexperienced doctor, who I can almost tell that she was practically giving the prescription by reading a book. Maybe this simple prescription could be replaced by AI prediction soon so that she could spare herself to work on some more challenging diagnosis.

Amateur of the medical care system, I know little and shouldn’t comment on how it should work. There must be many technological and management difficulties. From the perspective from an outsider though, better patient-oriented management may improve everyone’s productivity.

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