Okay ladies, here's a quiz:
You've put it off long enough, but it's time to schedule that mammogram! Fortunately, two excellent local medical facilities are competing for your business, both accepting your health insurance. How do you decide where to go?
Which would you prefer to hear:
A. "Who's next?"
B. "So good to see you again. Come right back here and make yourself comfortable."
You're going to have to put on one of those horrible hospital gowns, but where would you prefer to sit while wearing it:
A. In a drafty corridor where busy people dressed in professional attire keep passing by and trying not to notice that you're sitting there in a flimsy pastel garment that reveals more flesh than you normally show in public.
B. In a private room in the presence of the technician--and no one else.
It's time to step up to the big bad machine--and maybe both medical facilities use the same big bad machine, but the people who run them have different skill sets. Which technician would you rather have manhandling your tender girly parts:
A. The highly efficient technician who causes so much pain you wonder whether she trained by repeatedly slamming a garage door down on a grapefruit.
B. The slow and gentle technician who has learned the secret of squeezing grapefruits without making them burst, who somehow manages to squash your breasts without causing more than a modicum of discomfort.
I don't know about you, but I'm choosing B every time; in fact, the only people I can imagine choosing A are those who are unaware that other options exist. Yes, it is possible to get a pain-free mammogram!
The slow and gentle technician told me this morning that the B practice has been purchased by medical facility A, but it's too early to know what that will mean for the future. Will the B people teach the A people how to make mammograms less unpleasant? Or will the force of the larger A facility lead inevitably to a pervasive mediocrity of service?
Only time will tell--but as long as it makes a real difference, I'm choosing B for better breast care.