"My Customer Journey"

About: Royal Adelaide Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

Based on my experience recently, I believe there is a basis to suspect that there is a cultural issue in your Medical Imaging team in the hospital.

In my opinion, they appear to be in a position to be able to benefit from further training in:

- Phone Etiquette

- General Patient Courtesy; and

- Equipment Management

I am going to attempt to address this chronologically so that it is clear what the 'customer journey' was, the 'touchpoints' involved, "Who is performing?", and, "Who is not?"

A. Phone Etiquette

When phoning from a private number, it is ideal to identify yourself before asking any questions, including before asking the identity of the person who has answered the phone.

Sounds like:

"Hi, my name is ______. I'm calling from the Medical Imaging Team at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Is this [patient name]?"

It is common practice among people with less than friendly intentions to fail to do this. In the absence of the knowledge of who is calling, the person receiving the call may elect not to take it and simply hang up.

1. Identify yourself first, when calling from a private number.

2. Use every opportunity to leave a message saying who called.

I had a call from a private number yesterday, just about the time of my appointment. I suspected, and still suspect, that it was the hospital, but, only because Medical Imaging later claimed to have tried to call me.

The experience I had may have been shaped by their frustration in not being able to reach me, but, I think you'll see as you continue why that frustration was within their own sphere of control, and, not handled appropriately.

B. General Patient Courtesy

1. While the question - why were you late? - might be appropriate for a teacher to pose to a student, or, to an employee of the hospital, it is unlikely to ever be appropriate to confront a patient in this manner, and certainly not as a contingency in deciding if a scan to detect a cardiology issue will be done on that day or some yet-to-be-determined other day.

I had an appointment for 11:00am. I believe your records will show that I was at the Kiosk in the lobby swiping my Medicare Card at approximately 11:04am.

Having had quite a few appointments at your hospital in another department in Section 3, (including a lung function test to see how far through the hospital I could walk without losing my breath), I expected this department, also in Section 3, to be at the east end of the hospital, near the pharmacy and cashier.

Upon being guided to the department by 2 random uniformed employees I approached, I realized that it was located where I have frequently gone to SA Pathology anyway.

2. In the rare, unimaginable case that it somehow does become appropriate to ask a patient - why are you late? - it is probably not advisable to pose the question at a time when the patient answering:

i.) Has been asked the question in earshot of other attendees in the waiting room, and is

ii.) Obligated to answer the questions within earshot of those other attendees

The experience felt like an unnecessary, bloody-minded, vindictive act of bullying or harassment, and that's at least unprofessional, if not illegal.

3. When my one-word defence for my lateness was deemed by whoever was on the other end of the phone to have sufficed, I was told that I could sit in a waiting room, fill out a questionnaire and wait to be called for my scan.

(Note: Other patients in the larger waiting room heard this whole exchange. I wonder how many of them thought "traffic" was a good enough excuse to get a heart-scan.)

The location of that next waiting room was one other than the location where I and others had already been waiting; and, its location was, therefore, described to me, as it wasn't in line-of-sight from where we were standing.

Apparently, as revealed to me later, I had misunderstood which waiting room that was. I waited in the wrong place, causing further delays.

I'm hoping by now, having read what you've read so far, you understand that I'm not normally easily confused or particularly bad at reading or general literacy skills.

Nevertheless, curiosity was expressed when I was found where I was thought to have personally chosen to sit. Obviously, that caused further time loss; and, finally

4. Because I take a blood thinner, I was advised to keep my elbow bent, after my Gelco(sp?) was removed. However, no amount of time was told to me as to how long I should wait, or, even when it was okay for me to leave.

When I peeked in on one of the employees, I got what I believed was a strange, what are you still doing here?, kind of look. She said I was free to go, and I said, "Oh, am I? Okay. Thanks!" and left.

I'm guessing that's not the experience you want patients in the world's most expensive hospital construction to have.

C. Equipment Management

1. Before my scan, I was advised that I would be given breathing instructions. While those instructions were provided, I was not, however, advised as to what those commands would be, and, what each would mean.


2. I was given commands like:

- "Breathe In"

- "Breathe Out"

- "Stop"; and

- "Breathe Away"

The vocals of the person giving those instructions were quite muffled and it wasn't always clear what she was saying. I have quite-fine hearing, but, I imagine it would be challenging for an elderly patient with hearing loss to understand these commands. This led to the technician giving the commands occasionally getting frustrated with me, because I was not, at times, breathing according to the instructions she was giving.

It would probably also be helpful for that technician to be aware that she was giving someone with lung problems instructions to hold their breath, making it necessary to be forgiving, patient, and, mindful of remembering to advise the patient when it is okay to breathe as soon as possible without, of course, resorting to the point of ruining the images she is taking.

I hope this helps the hospital improve. It's a beautiful facility and all of my other experiences with your staff members have been lovely.

In my opinion, Medical Imaging appears to be run more like a sheep station than a hospital team.

Kind Regards,