How VIP Health Care Can Go Wrong

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Companies use phrases like "VIP access" and "VIP treatment" to refer to a higher level of service, available only to celebrities and other wealthy, influential people. A VIP experience is typically more expensive and offers exclusive benefits. When VIPs are sick or injured, they often insist on special attention from healthcare providers. Hospital leaders go to extraordinary lengths to make VIPs feel at home in their environment; however, those extra perks do not always translate to better care outcomes, especially when medical emergencies arise.

By leveraging their networks and calling in favors, VIPs seek ways to circumvent the normal system as they strive to receive the best care.

Yet, paradoxically, VIPs often receive suboptimal – or even dangerous – care. This is known as VIP syndrome, and it may be responsible for the deaths of Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers, and many others.

How VIP health care can go wrong

Healthcare teams develop standardized processes and procedures in order to provide the most effective care to all patients in a streamlined way. These standards determine how patients with a particular medical condition will be treated regardless of social status. Renowned surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande’s groundbreaking work to develop checklists to simplify the complexity of healthcare delivery supports the industry’s value of standardized care. Checklists, simple yet crucial tools, help avoid preventable medical errors.