We Should Talk About: Quality in Healthcare

Nov 30, 2022

“Quality… you know what it is, yet you don’t know what it is.”

A powerful quote from Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has resonated with many because of its truth and the weight that it carries. Looking past this and when taking a deeper examination of the philosophy of genuine quality, there are many ways to define this. On the outside looking in, many people will think they know high standards from cheap, bootleg knockoffs, however, most would be surprised to know they haven’t the first clue.

“Cheap, but Bad”

Many think that quality is tethered to wealth but that’s not always the case. This ideology is especially true in the medical industry. For obvious reasons most people would choose a doctor with a degree from Harvard, but this doesn’t exactly mean that they are better than the doctor who makes less money and isn’t celebrated. Quality can be found in lots of different places, sometimes in areas, you would never think of.

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

About five years ago I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy—a condition that weakens the muscles in half of the face. One side becomes droopy and slanted, your eye has difficulty opening and closing and your hearing can also be impaired. It was a brutal and painful experience that lasted nearly a year. Still, to this day I feel residual effects.

What does my misfortune have to do with quality?

When the symptoms first began, I chose to go to a respected doctor in my town because everyone spoke highly of him and claimed that he was the best. I managed to get an appointment which in itself was a grueling process but that was only the beginning of the nightmare.

As soon as I entered his private clinic, I was immediately greeted with cold arrogance from every staff member. Even though I was the only patient in the waiting room I sat for ten, two, thirty, minutes before Dr. Genius came out, flirting with the receptionist as he waved me in without so much as introducing himself.

He asked me run-of-the-mill questions and every time I gave him an answer I received a, “uh-huh” or “hm”. His phone rang, he told me that it was urgent, and he answered the call and laughed at something the other person said on the other end. He left the room and when he came back after twenty minutes, he told me he couldn’t see what was wrong.

The next day things got worse. The left side of my face was clearly drooping, and my fear was amplifying because I didn’t understand what was happening. There was no shot I was going back to that doctor, so I decided to take a different approach. I took a trip to a local urgent care facility which turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. They deemed my situation an emergency and took me in right away. Within minutes I was diagnosed and sent to a local pharmacy to receive medication.

Know your Neighborhood

The truth is you don’t need to search high and far for exceptional quality. It may not be easy to find, however, there is a good chance it is closer than you think. See, in my experience, I felt I had to listen to other people rather than do my own research. If I had, I would’ve discovered there was an extremely trustworthy and reliable urgent care only five minutes away. Not only are they a place that supplies top-notch service and treatment but a facility where relationships are built. The staff that treated me engaged with me on a personal level, something that most people don’t do. We got to know each other on a deep level which ensured the overall experience and quality of care.

Knowing the Difference

Even though the healing process took almost a year and Bell’s palsy is one of those unfortunate illnesses that recovers on its own time, the difference between the two medical professionals was worlds apart. Yes, the safe bet is to trust the MD who graduated from a top-tier school over someone with less experience and cache but one thing you can’t measure with a degree is how much someone truly cares. If you ask me, the Ivy League graduate that I saw had become jaded. He has the wealth, the vacation home in the Hamptons, and his own private practice. He chased the money, got it, and now walks through the motions unless there’s a massive paycheck dangling in front of his face. On the other hand, the woman who diagnosed me cared. I could feel it. Her mannerisms, warm tone in her voice, and how she put all her focus directly on me were all I really wanted—someone to really be there for me. And she was.

Quality isn’t always shiny and expensive. It’s more than a dollar sign and can be found in places you would least expect. If you aren’t sure if something is the quality you would like it to be ask yourself this, “without this, will I be, OK?” It’s best to simplify your choices down to only two. In life, we don’t need dozens of options but only the best ones. It’s important to remember that quality and trust aren’t always synonymous with wealth and notoriety. Sometimes what you’re looking for is under your nose the whole time and in my case, it was a Chai Care facility only minutes away from my apartment!

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* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.

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