Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Its time to work on delivery again

There are manufacturing shortages periodically for just about everything. They are worse now that most manufacturers are using the 'just in time' model where nothing sits on their shelves for any length of time. Then the problem becomes if anything does not show up as planned, anything breaks down, or an act of God occurs (think tornado, flood, earthquake, etc). Look at what happened to the Japanese car makers when their parts sources were hit by the earthquake earlier this year.

We accept that something might be out of stock for a bit, we skip it or buy something different in the meantime but then it eventually comes in back in stock. Life goes on, no problem.

But what if the problem is for something significant like a medication - maybe even a chemo treatment? The impact becomes a bit more significant, especially for the patients. In fact, I think if I was told my chemo drugs were not available, I would be a bit concerned.

This is when delivery of the message is very important. Delivery is often very important in soothing feelings and reducing emotional impact but it is often ignored. A woman in this article was concerned that her chemo regimen was disturbed when her doctor called and said 'don't come in for chemo, we don't have the drugs'. Ahem, that would upset anyone who was counting on their life saving treatment. (Maybe there is a bit of media spin in this article as well to make it a bit more tragic - a comment from my inner cynic.)

Let's work on the delivery here. If you have a substitute, can you use it? What if they said, we have to reschedule you for three days from now when we will have something else to treat you then? Most medical professionals learn this kind of thing and its called 'bedside manner'. Most of them are probably nice people where it comes naturally.

I guess my point is let's not make mountains out of mole hills here. How can a patient's anxieties be alleviated by giving them information and options? If a cancer drug is out of stock, lets see how this problem can be solved locally. The manufacturer is probably working on the problem at their end. What matters here is the patient's health and mental well being. Work on the delivery so the impact on the patient's stress level is minimized.

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