You got me. I still won’t cop to eating at a Cheesecake Factory, but I am all about the Apple Store. In fact, I’m a teensy bit over the top about it. Seriously, I beg of you—could we, please, have just a little genius bar with our health care?
I’m no doubt somewhat of a freak (I got up at 2:55 a.m. ET on September 19th to, you know, pre-order the iPhone 6). A month or so later, I was more than ready to upgrade my aging iPad2, so obviously at the first opportunity I ordered a new iPad Air 2 online from the Apple website. I requested pick-up at my local Apple Store—because it’s convenient—and, well, I just love going there. A few minutes after I made my online purchase, I received an email informing me that the store staff was ready for me. My new baby was waiting! Serious goose bumps.
I made my way to the mall. It was pretty crowded, as usual. I walked right past The Cheesecake Factory, into the mall, turned left and into the gleaming Apple Store—smiling, not quite skipping, all along. Several staff members greeted me almost the minute I arrived. I explained why I was there. When she understood my reason for coming to the store, the first staff person handed me off to another. I showed him the email on my iPhone. We traded some numbers. He entered those on his iPhone and went back to get my waiting . . . Air 2!!
Within five minutes he arrived with the new purchase. I signed the bill electronically. He asked if I needed any help getting the wee new thing set up. I said, “No, I got this one.” And with that—I was out of there, back past The Cheesecake Factory and to my car—skipping. (I’m kidding—about the skipping part.)
It’s true neither I nor any of my devices that day had a reason to visit the actual genius bar—but I think you get my point: Why can’t our health care experiences be as seamless, efficient and humane as a visit to this kind of extraordinary retail store? The staff there is unobtrusively looking out for customers as they enter the store. The first person that saw me triaged my need and handed me over the appropriate level of intervention. I really didn’t need to go further into the store. The staff person readily acknowledged that I was coming to the experience both with my own device and with my own information. We and our devices exchanged information. He quickly figured out what I needed and managed it. He asked me if I was comfortable with DIY care (for the iPad set-up)—and when I was, we parted—another satisfied customer.
Obviously, the full metaphor falls apart some as the acuity of care need escalates—but still, let’s face it, there is plenty of room for health professionals, patients and families to re-imagine the care experience. While they’re at it—they could do a lot worse than looking for models like this store—and the genius bar.
But you ask: Who gets to re-imagine the health care experience?
And to that we say: You do!
Flip the Clinic began with a simple, but I guess radical idea. What might that be? We think the human beings, both professional and non-professional, who are experiencing what has too often become a demoralizing and dissatisfying health care experience, should have the opportunity to re-think it—re-imagine it—remake it.
To help that happen—the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is taking Flip the Clinic on the road. In 2015 we will be convening a series of community innovation labs across the country. The diverse set of attendees at each of those meetings—which will include nurses, patients, doctors, designers and others—will work together in hands-on intensive sessions to find discrete ways to re-imagine care.
You probably don’t want to miss that.
If you live in or near San Francisco, Austin, Miami, Durham, Minneapolis or Philadelphia and have a flip idea you’d like to explore—check out the Flip the Clinic site—and sign up.
We’re looking for the best genius bar for health care—or even better whatever your best idea is for making the time health professionals and patients spend together as good as it can be.
Basically, health professionals and patients—it’s your time—it’s absolutely yours—let’s flip the damn thing, ok?