On a recent trip to Thailand, two colleagues and I saw efficient hospital workflow in action. Just for kicks, let me present the following, in a single act.

Act 1, Scene 1:  A group of jet-lagged Americans sitting in a conference room at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok. One of them begins to make faces at his colleagues.

Colleague #1: “Are we doing something to annoy you?”
Blurry-eyed Guy: “I meant to get my new contact lenses before I left DC.”
Colleague #2: “We’re sitting at one of the leading medical tourism hospitals in the world. Why don’t you put them to the test?”

Act 1, Scene 2: Blurry-eyed Guy walks up to outpatient clinic and explains the problem. They tell him he will need a prescription and ask him if he wants to be seen. Discouraged, and forgetting where he is, he starts to walk away when the receptionist says they can see him right now.

Six minutes later: He has been registered in their system, has received his laminated ID card, and is in one of the treatment rooms going over his history with the nurse.

Another 10 minutes later: He’s been seen by the doctor and is on his way back to join his colleagues with his prescription in his pocket.

Act 1, Scene 3: Back in the conference room.

Colleague #2: “So, did you manage to get an appointment”?
Soon-to-be-not-Blurry-eyed Guy: “Not exactly.”

Can you imagine that same thing happening in a large U.S. hospital? Next time I will share some thoughts on why Bumrungrad is different…