You may have seen on iUTMB that this past week was Outpatient Service Associates Week, something UTMB Hospitals and Clinics has been sponsoring for the past few years. What is an OSA? They’re the patient’s first contact with our clinics. They answer the phones or manage front desks, schedule appointments, check in patients, and make sure all of the paperwork is completed before the patient goes in to see a doctor or other care giver.
The goal of the week is to boost morale, recognize hard work and reward dedication, and one way they’ll do this is by selecting an OSA of the Year, which happens at a party this evening.
I had an opportunity to experience several OSA’s this week. I’ve had a nagging sore throat for a couple weeks and finally went to check it out, fearing that I was starting to spread germs like Typhiod Mary (it was just allergies). I called to find out about getting an appointment at my normal clinic, and my first encounter with an OSA this week wasn’t so hot. She wasn’t particularly pleasant on the phone, didn’t seem all that interested in helping me, and probably isn’t in the running for the “OSA of the Year” award. Had I not had a vested interest in getting care at UTMB, I might not have.
And that would have been very unfortunate, because the next three OSAs I met were wonderful, extremely helpful, bright and energetic. So was the nurse who took my vitals, and the practitioner who looked me over. It was a great clinical encounter: the visit was on time, quick & convenient, all the staff were courteous and professional, I was given a lot of good information and had all my questions answered, and had my next checkup scheduled. Perfect.
Except that it almost didn’t happen, and that speaks to how important every OSA is, and why we need to appreciate them, give them good tools and skills, value them as team members, hold them to a high standard and reward them for attaining that standard, and thank them for their hard work. OSAs, I salute you. To the ladies that unknowingly restored my faith in our system, I thank you deeply.