I am a huge proponent of better care coordination. This means doctors have to talk to each other. When I need to talk to a doctor who’s cell phone I don’t already have, I cringe. It means I will have to face their office telephone system and I am so DONE with this.
- I appreciate your telling the patients, “If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911” although, given how long I spent on hold, I am sure the patient will figure that out.
- I love it when your recorded message does not have an option for “another doctor’s office calling.”
- I love it when your recorded message DOES have an option for “another doctor’s office calling” and it takes you right back to the start of the recording.
- I love being disconnected multiple times.
- I love finally reaching a human and then being transferred to someone’s voicemail to leave a message.
I have been at this all morning, trying to reach doctors about really sick patients, one of whom is now in the emergency room. On average I give up after about 5 minutes, but last week I spent 20 minutes trying to reach a doctor in a nationally known multi-specialty clinic. I was curious whether it was even possible to get through. I finally wrote him a letter to tell him I was referring the patient elsewhere and he needed to speak to his administration about the phone system.
If you are a doctor, call your own office and see what happens.
And please don’t make me listen to 2 minutes about how COVID sucks. I know that. It does not suck as bad as your phone system.
A doctor trying to reach you about one of your patients
Dr. Fife is a world renowned wound care physician dedicated to improving patient outcomes through quality driven care. Please visit my blog at CarolineFifeMD.com and my Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/carolinefifemd/videos
This is a great read and how true this is. I am sure it is frustrating from another Drs office and also from the patient point of view. From a patient , I have mentioned and recommended this to my primary care and specialty physicians friends that I know. When they do call their own office I immediately get a Thank you for letting me know, that they weren’t aware. Everyone is busy but there are some offices that should take note. Thanks Dr Fife for putting this out there!