Jack goes to the doctor.  He pays his $50 co/pay for the visit.  He assumes that the visit must cost about $300 total though he doesn’t really know.

The staff checks him in quickly but without a smile. He waits in the waiting room with 12 other people in an uncomfortable chair, reading a Good Housekeeping from 14 months ago. Finally, he is called back. A nurse takes his weight (in the hallway… thanks for the public forum) and then takes him to the room to get his vitals. The nurse tersely writes down his reasons for the visit to save the doctor some time … the doctor’s time is very valuable, you know. Jack waits another 10 minutes for the doctor. The doctor comes in, spends five minutes with Jack and heads out the door, says the nurse will be right back in.

In the ten minutes he waits for the nurse, he does a little math to figure out just how valuable that doctor’s time is. He has decided it is $300 per visit for five minutes with the doctor. Clearly, he thinks, the doctor just goes from room to room to room seeing patients. The staff has done all of the work already… the doctor just listened, typed something in the computer, wrote a prescription and headed out. Five minutes with each patient means twelve patients per hour.

So by Jack’s quick math, it is possible that the doctor makes $3600 per hour! He’s frustrated now with all the waiting so he lets his mind run wild.  They are open from 9 to 5 and Jack will give them an hour for lunch. So, 8 hours at $3600/hour grosses the doctor nearly $30,000 per day. Oh… wait! There are five doctors in this practice! They all seem just as busy. Jack’s doctor’s office takes in $150,000 per day, right? That’s $750,000 per week!!!  $15,000,000 per month and $180,000,000 per year!

Ok… so Jack is not thinking about all of the other work that goes in to running the practice. Jack is WAY off. Maybe he even knows he is way off.  But by how much? Jack figures that even if he is wrong by 90%, his doctor’s office is taking in $18 million dollars per year.

So Jack has some questions. Why couldn’t the staff at least offer a smile to one of their $18 million customers? Why do they have uncomfortable chairs? No current magazines? None for men? Can’t afford a scale in each room so his weigh in wasn’t in public? Why does everyone seem so miserable?

Jack has questions but he keeps them to himself.  But what if he asked?   How would we answer?