If Restaurants Worked Like Hospitals, Would You Care More?


This guest post was authored by Reed Brandon.

As Americans, so often we are outraged when the smallest details go wrong in our daily lives.

Things like standing too long in a line at the grocery store, experiencing problems with sending and receiving mail, maybe frustration with traffic and speed limits – When we feel underserved, under-appreciated, or mismanaged, we tend to speak up.

Now, these examples rarely (if ever) hold life or death implications, but it doesn’t stop us from voicing our opinion if we feel strongly about our position. And when enough people have a problem with the way things are done — whether in a local community, by a business, in an industry or by the government –these issues become magnified, with some getting debated on the larger, national stage.

Everything from children’s summer reading lists, to little league sports, to McDonald’s coffee.

Change happens when it is demanded.

So when will we care enough about healthcare to speak up? As one of the only industries that by definition, is in the business of life and death, it stands to reason that either these changes are not being demanded frequently enough, publicly enough, or not by the right people.

With our human nature in mind, I would like to offer a new perspective to the American consumer…

Let’s just say the restaurant industry is run like healthcare for a day.

We need food, we value good product and service and don’t want to overpay for the industry standard, right? These comparisons apply to many businesses, but this in particular should be relatable for anyone…

So you feel hungry. You drive toward an area of town, pull into the first restaurant you see and walk inside.

When it comes to food, normally you know what you like and dislike. You know what feeling hungry means, how to solve that hunger, but you also have a good idea of what the cost should be for what you are getting (The difference in quality of a $6 burger and a $15 burger, or the price of Captain D’s vs. McCormick & Schmick’s) – Healthcare is not this way, making this new restaurant visit very different.

You walk inside and inform the hostess of your “condition,” as you would an illness at a hospital:

You: “I’m hungry, but I don’t know why. I think I should eat, but I just wanted to come in and ask your opinion on what I should have and why?”

Restaurant: “Ok sure, what’s the name? Take a seat and we will get you fed in no time!”

…30 minutes (up to 4 hours) later you are seated and told that for your condition/level of hunger, you probably would enjoy some lean meat and vegetables, but they would like to take you back to the kitchen chef for some testing to make sure you are best served according to your predisposed taste preferences!

You think to yourself, “Great! I’m going to be fed and it is going to be EXACTLY what I need. Plus, because I have a membership card for this particular place I am going to get a lot of my meal paid for, since I hardly ever have this problem with my appetite.”

After going through an extensive taste and allergy testing protocol with a very kind and seemingly knowledgeable staff, you have some of the best food you have ever had. You have no problem paying a quality price for the steak meal and great service. The chef was simply outstanding, delivering exquisitely customized personal plates in what seemed like an instant, and for the next eight weeks that is all you can think about. “The best I have ever been fed,” you repeatedly tell people, referring others to experience this level of service and expertise, especially since you did not have to pay “full cost”!

Nine weeks have passed, when Thursday afternoon rolls around and you get very detailed letter and bill from the renowned chef and restaurant, informing you of some “minor additional costs incurred” during the unanticipated testing and analysis phase of the treatment.

Wait a minute. You thought that was just part of the experience – part of the meal. This can’t be your fault, no one told you or gave you the option to choose, it was simply suggested by the experts?

You thought because you were hungry and walked in a restaurant filled with helpful, talented people who were genuinely interested in getting you fed with top of the line nutritional ingredients, using only the most advanced culinary research and preparation methods, that those “minor” portions of the treatment couldn’t possibly be there to take advantage of your lack of knowledge on the subject… Right? Wrong.

Restaurant: “Well sir, you are correct in the sense that your steak dinner was paid for up front, at $39.99, but the testing and analysis that the chef recommended was agreed upon by you and then performed mid-visit. Therefore, in concert with our policies (which are explained within the document below), standard procedural cost for the “gold-level, individual nutritional culinary specialty evaluation,” in addition to the operational cost of gathering and reading the results of both the “culinary endorphin production scan” and the “post-test digestive system monitoring” brings total costs incurred to $729.50 and your total bills payable to $689.51, to be paid by EOM: June 30, 2015”

So I ask you, folks – Do you know what your steak dinner costs? MDsave does.

This scenario may not have happened to you. It may not happen for another 17 years, or 77 years, but why would you want this to happen to ANYbody? Who wants ANY industry running this way? This restaurant would never be able to operate under this structure, but since healthcare isn’t an everyday experience like food, with well-known precedents and expectations, the outrage just isn’t there.

The problem is clear. The solution is so very simple.

Patients should take advantage of the world’s first online health marketplace, which features the lowest possible prices, agreed upon within partnerships with hospitals and providers nationwide, backed by a 100% guarantee and patent protected bundled pricing algorithm – at www.mdsave.com

Think about it this way – MDsave is the Priceline of healthcare:

  • Need a hotel? Search, compare and purchase the same rooms, at the best possible price! No hidden fees, no change in cost and no cancellations… ever.
  • Need a Mammogram? MRI? CT Scan? Search, compare and purchase the same procedures, performed by the same doctors, at the best possible price! No hidden fees, no change in cost and no cancellations… ever.

Every American needs MDsave, every time. Why? Because Americans need help. Moreover, Americans need to be better at seeking and accepting the help that is already available to them. So when you need medical care, click or call on us. We can guarantee that you are getting the right treatment at the right price, from the same providers in your area – Don’t get stuck with an $800 steak.