MARKETING CASE STUDY - Dr Martin\u2019s Office Seeking a Referral The Professor was not feeling well In fact on that Tuesday afternoon he had felt

MARKETING CASE STUDY - Dr Martinu2019s Office Seeking...

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Dr. Martin’s Office Seeking a Referral The Professor was not feeling well. In fact, on that Tuesday afternoon, he had felt tired and generally “down” physically. During the 15-minute drive home from work, he developed slight nausea and gastric discomfort. When he reached home he headed for the bathroom. For the next several hours, he experienced severe diarrhea and recurring waves of nausea and vomiting. After a few hours, the nausea had subsided somewhat, but the gastric distress persisted through most of what proved to be a long night. On the following morning, the Professor called the office of his primary care physician, Dr. Martin. Dr. Martin’s nurse, Betty, came on the line. The Professor detailed his physical problems of the previous night. “Betty, the nausea is pretty much gone, but the gastric discomfort is quite severe. I really feel that I need to see a doctor.” Betty replied, “Dr. Martin is booked solid all day, so it would be hard to see him.” “Betty,” the Professor said, “I really feel that I need to see a doctor. Suppose I go to the HealthCheck Clinic. It’s close by, and I’ve always gotten good service there. Could the doctor refer me so that the University’s insurance would cover the visit?” Betty’s voice took on a doubtful and clinical tone. “The doctor would not refer you to the clinic. However, I can ask him to prescribe something for the diarrhea. We’ll call your pharmacy and place the prescription.” Slightly perturbed, the Professor said, “But I don’t understand. My wife and I have always gotten good service at HealthCheck. Why can’t he refer me there?” Betty’s clinical tone sharpened. “The doctor would not refer you to the clinic. The medicine should help you, though. I will call it in to the pharmacy.” It was obvious that it would do little good to continue the conversation, and as he was getting a little upset by the tone that Betty used, the Professor said, “Thank you,” and hung up. “Thanks for nothing,” he thought to himself. Collecting Some Information As the Professor thought about the conversation, he got angrier. He did not like being told that he could not choose his own health provider, given that his primary care provider was not available. Besides, HealthCheck was much less expensive than the hospital emergency room. He decided to call the Employee Benefits Office at the University to get their views on the episode. His call was taken by Wendy, the Assistant Director of Staff Benefits. The Professor related the background of the situation to Wendy and described the results of the call to Dr. Martin’s office. Wendy expressed surprise that a doctor who was an approved primary provider with the University’s health plan would refuse to approve someone going to HealthCheck if the doctor could not see the patient. “If you can hold on a minute, I’ll ask Candy about it,” she said. Candy was the Director of the Employee Benefits Office. After a minute Wendy came back on the phone. “Candy said she was surprised and distressed that Dr. Martin 1 ©Jeffrey S. Harper, PhD, CFE, and William H. Moates, PhD, both of The School of

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