McDonalization is a term to describe a social phenomenon in our society, in which institutions around the globe are rapidly adopting fast-food restaurant principles specifically, the McDonalds model. To say society is becoming McDonaldized means that institutions have become to value the process of rationalizing tasks and time to have the most efficient outcome and get through as many customers in as little time as possible. We are revolutionizing the concept of “catering” to certain societies needs. For example, we tend to gravitate towards McDonalds because it is cheap, gives short-term gratification and is fast. This reflects what our society wants these days that is why it is so popular.
The principles of McDonaldization are efficiency, calculability, predictability, control and irrationality. Efficiency is the most organized and quickest systematic method to finish a task while using minimum effort and expense. An example of this term in the fast-food restaurant model would be the drive through. It provides consumers with short term gratification by fulfilling consumer’s hunger. The principle of calculability is that quantity is just as important as quality. An example of this is that if consumers can get a lot of food for a low price it must mean it is of quality as well. Predictability is the consistency of a product or service in all locations of a franchise or institution. This also establishes systematic work routines for employees and consistent routines for consumers to attain their product. An example of this is that you can expect that at any McDonalds you eat at, the fries will all taste the same. Control is the fourth principle of McDonaldization in which, the consumers are controlled by the restaurant environment and quick food options to eat their food, and leave quickly as possible intended to by management. Employees are controlled by the organization to do their job according to the training guidelines and equipment that has been put in place, leaving no room to do anything differently or outside of these instructions. The final principle of McDonaldization is irrationality. This is an effect of these rational systems which are irrational in the sense that they deny basic humanity to the employees and those who are served by them. For example, even though the food at McDonalds is cheap it is unhealthy, not only for us but for our environment creating greenhouse gases and excessive garbage.
The health care industry has become McDonaldized. Doctors all have organized operating procedures so therefore their jobs are done easily and quickly as possible creating a safe experience for all. Each and every hospital the surgery will be done the same. Medicine is made in pharmacies in huge quantities making it easily accessible for patients, and doctors to recommend and give prescriptions. The principle of efficiency plays a role because they use the most optimum method to get you from one point to another, from being ill to being healthy again in the shortest amount of time. To make it even more efficient they have “The Assembly Line” process in which patients are organised to go to doctors that specialise in different parts of the body, your appointment is limited to only talk about one issue at a time and there is a fixed length for your appointment to make sure the whole assembly line process is fast and organized to get you in and out of the doctor’s office as efficient as possible. Calculability present in health care links back to the roots of McDonaldization that quantity equals quality. Most hospitals around the globe are at 90% occupancy. When there is this many patients in the system it is near impossible to give them all quality care. Therefore, they limit each patient to a certain time limit every day to maximise their time amoungst the whole population of patients. Patients aren’t getting quality medical practice and in the health care system they believe if they are assisting the mass population at short intervals this is better and much more profitable than providing individual quality care. Thus, the health care system has become very predictable. You can expect that no matter what walk-in clinic you go to you are expected to show your health card and then wait for the doctor to assist you. You are usually waiting longer than the appointment with the doctor will take and he/she will prescribe you with medicine that will make you healthy once again. This in and out process has become rationalized all across doctors’ offices and clinics, it is predictable and consistent behaviour. Doctors and surgeons have major control over who gets taken in first in the emergency room, how you are treated for your illness and your health. In the health care industry, there are many irrationalities that come along with this rationalized system. Doctor and patient relationship used to be very personal in nature, even house calls were more of a regular occurrence than they are now. The relationships in modern society between doctors and patients have become very formal and robot-like. The doctors are unable to give you a personalized visit as they have in the past because of the short time span they have with you along with all the other patients waiting for their turn.
McDonaldization is a problem because, with the phenomenon of McDonaldization this leaves little room for small pharmacy businesses to compete in today’s job market. They are simply no match when it comes to these multi-million dollar McDonaldized pharmaceutical businesses ones including Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall Drugs. These rationalized businesses also create a great deal of pollution as they are trying to produce products in mass quantities which clearly leads to the construction of many factories and warehouses for the production. These factories and warehouses create many greenhouse gas emissions that are toxic to our environment. Furthermore, with the mass production of these products, comes the excessive garbage due to the packaging. Another problem arising with McDonaldization is the upsurge of health issues. The food being sold at McDonalds and many other fast food restaurants is not healthy for you and the regular consumption of this food may lead to obesity. When relating this issue to the health care industry it has a lot to do with the high volume and pace of the patients’ doctors and nurses are scheduled to see every day. Doctors can become very stressed at work dealing with so many people. This can lead to misdiagnoses since they are not given enough time to deeply examine the person since they are given short specific time slots that they are to spend with the patient. Thus, misdiagnosis can lead to more health issues and/or not fixing the ones they had in the first place. Another negative effect of McDonaldization on the health care industry is the fact that the technologies endorsed to make their processes more efficient are now taking over the job and duties of the employees at hospitals and doctors’ offices as a result limiting the number of jobs in the health care workforce. Self-serve kiosks allow people to register themselves without having to talk to anyone, health records are now available on computer software’s. These are just some of the technologies that have been created over the years that have made it more efficient to complete tasks and hence needing less people work in this field.
Some things that can be done to diminish the negative effects of McDonaldization on the health care industry are to hire more doctors and nurses so that they do not feel overwhelmed while working with the high volume of patients that come in. This will give them a lengthy time slot to examine their patients and talk to them on a personal level to make their experience at the doctors a more intimate one rather than the patient feeling like they are just another number. Hospitals should be expanded to fit a large number of patients as many hospitals do not have enough beds to fit the amount of people in need of care. This will insure that the same quantity of people will receive care as well as receive quality medical care. Doctors hold a lot of responsibility in their hands and we should be paying them accordingly. They need to be treated with the utmost benefits and respect from the government and population. This also would give them the will to keep saving lives and doing their job the best they can.