Today i want to address miscommunication with your doctor. In the days of ever growing medical practices across the country, there is more and more chance of this happening.
My Nurse Practitioner, who I just got established with as a patient, just moved to a new facility, much larger than her small-town place previously. I needed to contact her the other day, and so I called the new number. And I was informed by an automated voice that my call was important to them and that they would answer my call in the order it was received. Huh? So I proceeded to wait (with loud music blaring in my ear) for not 5, but 10 minutes before I pulled the phone away from my melting eardrum and hung up.
I thought, seriously?? It takes the RECEPTIONIST over TEN MINUTES to answer my call? It’s a doctor’s office, not an insurance company! So far my impression of this new facility is plummeting like a nose dive. Wow.
So I called her old place back and I just asked her to confirm that this place was indeed where my NP had gone when she left, and if it was the usual thing to have to be on hold for ten exceptionally long minutes? She said, Oh yes, that facility is MUCH larger than ours here. You’ll need to just be patient and hold on….they will be with you eventually.
I thought….oh goodee. Harbingers of things to come. Long wait times. Frustration. Irritability. Anger. GRRRRR!
So anyway….I eventually got through, but here’s the thing. I called because I needed to know why my NP hadn’t done what she said she had done, which is expedite my appointment with the spinal surgeon. Because I spoke to the scheduler at the spinal surgeon’s facility today, and she said there was nothing in the referral that said to rush it. Sigh… So I proceeded to explain to the scheduler that indeed the NP had told me that she HAD said to put a rush on it. The scheduler said Nuh UH. I said Uh HUH. (okay no we didn’t say that lol…..but you get the feeling of where things were going)
So I said I’d call the NP back (oh freaking joy) and ask if she would PLEASE call or fax the Ortho guy and let them know over there that an appointment of February 23 is not acceptable and that I need to be seen, like, TOMORROW.
So I called. And of course, the mandatory wait time, approximately 10 minutes again. Finally a receptionist picked up. I explained that I needed to get a message to my NP about speeding up my appointment at the spinal surgeon. And she tells me that she would transfer me to the “referral center” and I could “check on the status” of my referral. I said NO…wait a minute. The “referral center” cannot tell the spinal surgeon to expedite things, the NP has to do that. The one who the referral did make! The NP!
And after bouncing back and forth with her, she finally seemed to understand and said she would let her know. Yeah. LOL. I bet she will.
So…….I’m so super pleased to live in the information age. I’m so pleased to have the internet. I’m so pleased to be able to communicate with my NP via MyChart.org (through the huge new medical system here in Central IL) and leave her messages (which, yes, she actually does read and respond to). I in fact DID leave her a detailed message and explained to her what I needed, and hopefully she will get it and do it and then maybe I can get in to see the spinal guy before I end up in a NURSING HOME for cripes sake!
Its such a huge relief to know that there is a way now to communicate with your doctor or NP, knowing that they will see your message in its entirety and respond back accordingly. Even though she did tell me 3 days ago that she “asked to put a rush on it”…….evidently there was some miscommunication there, but at least now I know she will see my message and hopefully correct any issues quickly and without too much aggravation.
I remember not that long ago, that if you did not get things straight with your doctor or NP the first time, you were basically screwed, and at the mercy of whoever ended up on the other end of the phone when you called to let them know things weren’t right. Sometimes they passed the message on, sometimes they would give the message to the nurse instead of the doctor and SHE would call you back without even talking to the doctor about it. (which used to drive me nuts) Or sometimes they might even throw your note in the garbage can, who knows?
Then you would just basically have to put up with miscommunication….or NO communication, if they didn’t even bother to respond at all.
One thing I’ve learned…..try to be pleasant, not upset and yelling. Being upset and yelling does no good. In fact it can really mess up your entire situation even more so. If you offend anyone in the chain of command, you are sabotaging yourself and your reason for calling. You might as well just tell whoever you are talking to that they are a Bitch and thank you, have a nice life, Idiot! For all the good it will do you. Because after you have offended anyone in the chain of command, you can almost guarantee that the doctor will never in a million years get your message. Your name will be placed in a special “file” and you will be targeted as a “difficult” patient. Your life will become a living hell.
But thankfully, things are getting better. My NP is reading my messages. She is responding. I am cutting out the middle man and actually communicating with the Big Cheese! YAY! Happy Dance.
So anyway…….that’s the latest installment of The Nocturnal Laundress……now it remains to be seen if I actually get my appointment moved up earlier than February 23. Wish me luck!
And remember to take deep breaths when you call your doctor’s office. 🙂 Deep breaths.