I thoroughly enjoyed reading a blog on KevinMD.com by Dr. Linda Girgis entitled “These McDonald’s practices should be avoided in health care”. I agreed with her premise and her conclusions but I began to wonder if there are now ways that healthcare can learn from the way McDonald’s does things and therefore we should advance them rather than avoid them.
I am old enough to remember when McDonald’s started as a fast food eatery in San Bernardino, California. The original brothers, Mac and Dick McDonald, had the idea of providing an efficient and clean “walk-up” restaurant that ran like an assembly line. Not everyone liked it. Some thought they were too hurried. They wanted to sit down, order, and eat their meal without the rush. But others found the pace to fit them and their situation.
I see McDonald’s as the “urgent care center” of restaurants. It’s not an expensive restaurant, it’s not a “hospital”. It’s a facility where you can go where a sore throat doesn’t take 2 hours to figure out, where an earache in a toddler does not require an extended time to diagnose.
I am not a frequenter of McDonald’s but I occasionally stop in there especially when I’m pressed for time. I know that if I stop in and order an Egg McMuffin, I will quickly get a breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese and maybe even Canadian bacon on an English Muffin. I know that I can take that with me and eat it in the car without wearing it. The same goes for a McDonald’s hamburger. In fact, the people at McDonald’s have put in some time designing those sandwiches so they can be eaten in a car without making a mess. I think health care could take a lesson here… there are situations in medicine that require urgency. If a man who works at a sheet metal factory comes into a clinic holding a bloody t-shirt around his hand, I can presume he will need fast and efficient medical attention. Urgent care centers should be set up to care for that man who is pressed for time, wanting a quick and quality suturing job (the Egg McMuffin equivalent)
McDonald’s is not a place that serves a “full menu”. You don’t have a complete selection and it’s not considered an expensive restaurant, you pretty much know what you’ll be getting when you walk in there. You order at the counter, pay for the meal, receive the food and you’re ready to go. Healthcare could learn another lesson… clinics that specialize in urgent care have cropped up all over America, some right next to a McDonald’s! They are not intended to be hospitals, not intended to be “full service”, but therein lies their value. If there is a clinic where you can walk in, pay for your procedure (let’s go back to our man with the hand laceration), get the cut stitched, then you are ready to go. No need to go to a full-service restaurant (hospital ED) where the wait can be 4 hours just to be seen.
Dr. Girgis was exactly on point with her “practices that should be avoided” but let’s not throw the concept of McDonald’s out completely. There are urgent care centers that know how to “supersize” things and get you treated and on your way home! QuikSurg is such a place.