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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Unreachable Doctors

Doctors. If you are in a practice and you have multiple offices in multiple cities, please have a phone number for each location. I understand you have 3 offices and different schedules each day. Why do you have one phone number at just one office? I'm not talking about 1 number for all 3 offices that is answered wherever you happen to be. I'm talking about calling the number assigned to only office A, when the patient was seen in office B or C. Then your receptionist tells me the following:
1. Oh. They're not in this office today, but we can leave a message for him to call you back when they return later in the week or next week. OR
2. Sorry, we don't have a direct line to that office. We take all the calls here. They may call us later for their messages and you may hear back from them today. Otherwise it won't be until they get back here later this week or next week.

So how do I reach the doctor to inquire about the miswritten prescription he just wrote? I'll tell you what. Let me put the patient on speaker and you can repeat exactly what you told me. Or should I just tell her she has to drive all the way back to that office to have him fix it? Tell her it's the doctor's fault? Tell her she can ask the doctor for a complimentary coffee and Danish and tank of gas for her inconvenience?

Let's give the pharmacy scenario. In any town in this country, there is a street that has 3 or 4 of the same pharmacy chain on it. Suppose they only have 1 phone number for that pharmacy's 3 or 4 stores in that one city. Let's suppose Pharmacy A is the only store with a phone. Your patient is at Store B looking for an e-script and you swear you sent it. You call the only phone number you have, to store A and they tell you they can't look it up, but will be happy to leave a message in case store B tries to call them for something later. Looks like your patient is out of luck.

Seriously. It happens. It's hard enough to keep track of my own schedule, let alone where certain doctors are on certain days at certain times. I don't care about being a super sleuth. I am great at investigating all sorts of issues in the pharmacy world. I am, however, concerned about the inconvenience you are presenting to my patients. To your patients.

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