Time is the New Currency – How You Can Cash In

Some examples of businesses that built on the idea that time is an essence are: Domino’s – pizza in 30 minutes or it is free, FedEx – overnight delivery, auto dealers offering express lube in 29 minutes or less or else it’s free.  Time is a premium.  Now, even hospitals are jumping on the time bandwagon, compensating people for their time.  According to Yahoo! News, hospitals all over the country are trying to cut wait time, here are some examples of the incentives they offer: cinema passes to patients who wait 30 minutes or more for emergency room care, baseball tickets for waiting 30 minutes, and some even offer meal vouchers.  However, it isn’t the rewards you are getting for waiting that matter, it’s the service.

Your time is at a premium. Everyone else’s is too, so it seems.

How many times have you called or emailed someone and felt like they were doing you a favor by simply extending you the courtesy of returning your communications? How many times have you heard “let’s do lunch sometime”? If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that …. I’d have many more dollar bills.

  • Domino’s Pizza built a multi-billion dollar empire and became recognized as the “World Leader in Pizza Delivery” by starting with “We deliver hot, fresh pizza in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”
  • FedEx built a business and created an entirely new industry based upon guaranteed overnight delivery: “When you absolutely, positively have to have it overnight.”
  • Auto dealers offer express lube services “in 29 minutes or less or it’s free.”
  • Papa John’s offers the “fastest made-to-order pizza in America” by providing fresh pizzas in 10 minutes or less, or they’re free.

We’ve become so consumed with saving time that the concept of “___ minutes or less or it’s free” is being spoofed on the Fox News Channel. Using the satire made popular by Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, they’ve created the 1/2 Hour News Hour that promises: “News in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”

With health care costs and complaints about care received on the rise, hospitals are now offering a quid pro quo for your time.

No, they won’t promise that “you’ll be seen by a doctor in 30 minutes or less or your treatment is free”, but they are compensating people for their time.

According to Yahoo! News, “Hospitals from California to Virginia are trying to cut wait times. They pitch “quality care at a moment’s notice” and “door to doc” treatment in minutes.”

  • A Kansas City hospital offers cinema passes to
    patients who wait half an hour for emergency room service.
  • A Detroit
    hospital system gives away major league baseball tickets to
    patients who wait 30 minutes for emergency room service.

Other hospitals offer meal
vouchers, baseball and movie passes and written apologies, although I haven’t found any studies that project the future cash values of written apologies, especially when considering the choice of emergency rooms is often a matter of proximity and health coverage rather than ultimate choice.

The competition for health care dollars is heating up. As some hospitals introduce 30-minute guarantees, others plan to introduce 15-minute promises.

But are all these guarantees really what patients want and need?

Aren’t we simply splitting hairs? What exactly does the term “emergency room service” mean? I’ve been to the emergency room a few times in my life, and seeing a “health care provider” is rarely one of the first thing that happens.

After what seems to be an extremely long wait where people who arrived after me are seen before me, I am usually first interviewed by someone in admissions. Then I’m sent back to wait longer. The concept of “door to doc treatment in minutes” is one that I have never experienced.

What would truly make me happy isn’t to be bribed for my time. I would be delighted if my wait would be eliminated completely, and I’d like to be seen and treated/diagnosed by a medical professional as soon as I arrive. After all, it is an emergency – to me – until I’m told otherwise by someone who knows better.

At least one hospital understands what I want. The Adventist GlenOaks Hospital of Illinois has a no-wait promise. Patients can skip the waiting room and go directly to a private room where treatment starts and registration is done bedside.

Time is the new currency, and time is money. In this case, saved time absolutely equals saved money for all.

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