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 sees patients at the CHI St. Luke's Hospital Wound Clinic in The Woodlands, Texas. For an appointment call (936) 266-2150.

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