Monday, September 24, 2007

Still Hanging In There

I keep getting chastised for not updating the blog. I apologize, but I haven't really had any great news or stories to share. For those of you who are finding this blog because of a urinary stent for a kidney stone, I will definitely say three things definitively. 1) The new softer kind is MUCH better than the standard kind 2) Even the new softer kind is not fun 3) Having a cough while having a stent is not fun. If I had known that having a cough would be so painful, I think I would have rescheduled the surgery. Every time I cough, the stent is painful. You would think the IV antibiotics and the Levaquin I am currently taking would do the trick. Apparently not. I thought coughs were supposed to be better after stopping smoking? I am not sure how much longer I have to keep the stent. They said 1 - 2 weeks. Since the last one was removed too early at my insistence and the ureter was swelling and causing awful pain, I will not push this time. It is amazing the teaching tool that pain can be. So, I will have it out when they say to have it out. :) I tried to stay horizontal most of the weekend, but I was up a lot to get drinks and to pee. That is the worst part of the have to pee 4 times an hour and then it hurts every time you do.

Mike was out and about with the kids most of the weekend (Thanks to Gelee Beans for giving my child temporary hair dye in her goodie bag - could have gone the rest of my life without seeing my child's hair dyed blue). This Gelee Beans place does hair and nails for a birthday party. The girls love it. I wish I had thought of it. :)

Mike is in New Orleans this week, and he got to go to the Monday Night Football game where the Titans SMACKED the Saints. :) If you want a glorious implementation job where you travel to clients to get them to use the EHR, please check out the openings at Bond. At least one Tennessee team is doing well since the Vols look awful. I have officially joined the "Fire Fulmer" camp. I never thought I would get there, but as much as I have liked Fulmer in the past, I think it is time for him to go. We need some fresh blood.

As I have been talking to several people lately and have been a customer/patient where I needed a lot of assistance, I have thought the same things many times. I have also read several management and customer service books lately. Customer service is lacking in most places, and employees who are happy provide good service. I have to give props to the OR and Recovery crew at St. Joseph's Hospital. They were very kind and helpful. However, if you look in the dictionary at customer service, you definitely will NOT find Walgreens OR United Healthcare. I show up at Walgreens with 4 prescriptions. I tell them to look at my history, and they say they have to call. Meanwhile, they tell me that I owe 160 bucks for my prescriptions. Since I have LONG since met my deductible, I am perplexed by this (Lithotripsy, 2 CTS, Morgan in ER,and Kidney Stone office visit, surgery, and monthly prescriptions is WAY more than $2500). I wait on hold for almost an HOUR for United Healthcare. Meanwhile, Walgreens keeps telling us to come back in 10 - 15 minutes. Mark keeps driving in a circle and parking in the parking lot for 10 - 15 minutes. They keep saying come back. We finally realize that this is because they don't want to fill the Flomax. I have 4 prescriptions, but one of them for Flomax, which is technically for men but it is also used with kidney stones to help with spasms. Even though Walgreens has filled it for me at least 4 times in the past, they said they would have to verify it with the doctor. UGH...Finally United Healthcare tells me that a charge was reversed from my account to change the billing code and that the patient responsible wasn't put back on the account. Insane. They say it will be fixed in 24 to 48 hours. Finally, we just pay for the prescriptions on the promise that they will fix it within 7 days. Of course, we give up on the Flomax (I found some samples when I got home thankfully).

Of course, I think the hospital staff obviously enjoyed their job. They joked with each other, joked with my brother when they called him to tell him to come get me, joked with me, smiled when they got me something, etc. The Walgreens staff acted like they had never seen a presription for Flomax for a female in their lives and acted like it was such a bother to them. The United Healthcare representative was actually very nice and tried to help, but I was already over the top after having to wait for an hour on the phone. At work, I always try to emphasize customer service. I think it is the one thing that a business can do to gain loyalty. I think Bond has the best EHR out there, but I think we would make an even bigger impression if we provided such great service that clients said WOW.

From a management perspective, I think good managers need to find what motivates employees and what makes them happy. We spend way too much time working to not have fun. I think they key things are 1) Respect - everyone wants to be respected for the abilities and skills they have 2) Relaxed environment - I think people want to know that they can joke with each other and have fun at work 3) Room for growth - everyone wants to know that they can grow either by gaining additional knowledge or growing into new positions 4) Flexibility - Life continuously throws curve balls at us. I think employees who can respond to life's challenges without causing trauma or drama at work appreciate that. Of course, good pay and benefits are also somewhere in there but these are more set by the company standards than the manager. In return, I think employees who get these things will generally provide good customer service. I would love to hear thoughts on this.

Of course, thinking about this makes me think back on my previous managers. I won't comment too much about my current boss (lol) but he is very good at getting you to expand your skillset without causing you to feel nervous or insecure. He pushes you in a way that kind of forces you into a land of unknown, but then you are happy at the end of it. He has a great sense of humor and keeps us all in stitches most of the time.

In my last job, I had 11 managers in 8 years with most of those being in a 4 year period. For some reason, the Misys management strategy seemed to be completely opposite of what I considered to be good management (especially by JC). For a while, it was really great. Then, all of the sudden it switched to being a department that didn't value the people who worked the hardest and had the best skill sets. I think the best time I have ever seen people work together as a team was actually when Mike Pritts focused us on "Everest." We had analogies for every step of the way. We would say we made it to base camp or the different levels as we accomplished things like Designs complete, Code Cutoff, QA test plans written, etc. Everyone worked really well together to get to the finish line. The team had made it too, and then management decided to pull the rug out and "extend" the release schedule to add other stuff in. I think that was the beginning of the downslope. To take all of that positive energy and excitement and smash it was definitely not good for morale. Then, to bring in two people in management who definitely didn't make people feel good about their jobs was definitely not good. I have often wondered what would have happened if those changes had not taken place. I wonder who would have left and who would have stayed? It is very interesting the effect something like that can have on lives. As I hear people at Misys talk about the reorgs, most of the people who have had their reorg seem cautiously optimistic. It is the R&D crew who is stil anxious. I think it is torture waiting and not knowing for them, especially in light of the iMedica deal. I did have three really great managers while at Misys. I think all of them are still in management, so that is good. I definitely try to remember the good and bad experiences from there and try to do the good and not do the bad in my own management style. I certainly thank Misys for all of the experience I gained there.

At the company I worked at prior to Misys, Medical Information Management Systems, my manager was a nurse who was very good at her job. I learned a lot from her. My next manager was the VP of Sales. He taught me a lot as well. At that point, I was just a nurse who didn't know much about the technology side. I definitely learned a lot from working there about management and about HIT. Additionally, the owner was a great mentor. He certainly didn't take no for an answer from the developers. :)

As for my management style, I think I expect a lot. I believe that people will give a lot to you if you give a lot to them. I always try to make sure that everyone knows how much I value their hard work because we definitely work hard at Bond. Being a small(er) company definitely brings some challenges, but everything moves at light speed compared to larger companies. We can make decisons and implement change in such a short amount of time. That is the best thing about my job. I see a manager as someone who clears obstacles to make everyone's job easier and more fun. I also think a manager should provide for educational growth and career growth where possible and where it is desired.

Since I am writing this in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, I had better to try again. Wow, that was a long ramble. I would love to hear your thoughts on management styles, motivations, etc. Please leave comments. You don't have to put your name.

1 comment:

  1. RE: Walgreens and Insurance

    Beyond horrid, they are unethical. One of my prescriptions is $10 cash, but every month they charge me $25 (my copay amount). I then say the word CASH, and then they say, "Oh. That will be $10." They look so embarrassed. Why not just charge the right amount? Because millions of people don't think to ask, so they make a gazillion dollars a year off us this way. It is horrible.