Last week I wrote about the perils of my new on-line patient medical record portals. I have 9 doctors I see at least every year with many different computer systems. Each system has a different website and password, and each system requires the same data that must be accurate so my doctors can diagnose and treat me correctly.
This week I had a different experience with Healthcare IT. The information about me was correct, but the systems caused a lot of wasted time with no benefit.
I switched my GYN doctor this year as my other doctor had moved her practice. My new GYN was in a medical office building closer to me so that I could make an appointment over my lunch hour.
I had already confirmed via a text message reminder the previous week that I would keep my appointment on Monday at 1:30PM.
When I arrived 10 minutes before my appointment time, the receptionist looked up my record and said, “Dr. XXX had an emergency C-section and has to reschedule.” I said, “Ok. I understand,” but then she said, “We left a message on your home phone early this morning.”
“Hmm,” I replied, “I left the house at 6:30AM to go to work where I’ve been all day.”
“We left a message on your mobile phone, too.”
“Really?” I had already taken out my phone to get to my calendar to reschedule the appointment. “I don’t see that anyone left a message on my mobile phone. In fact, I don’t see that anyone even tried to call me; there are no missed calls from this number to my mobile phone.”
“Well, it says in the note in your profile that we left a message.”
With that, I rescheduled for two weeks later and returned to work, losing about an hour out of my workday.
When I got home later that evening, I did have a message on my home phone which I rarely check, and never give out as my preferred number. The timestamp said that they called at “11:08AM” with a cheery message that I would have to reschedule.
As I was looking at text messages on my phone at the end of the day, I saw two computerized text messages that were sent and received at 11:20AM that morning. “Thank you for scheduling your appointment today with Dr. XXX. We look forward to seeing you at 1:30PM today”.
I guess the computer didn’t get the message that the Doctor was in an emergency C-section.
Wasted time? I had to confirm my appointment one week in advance via text. I got one text reminder the day before the appointment reminding me of the appointment. I had a voice message on my home phone after I had gone to work (but no message attempts on my mobile phone or my office phone or a bonafide attempt to actually talk with me). I had to read two text messages reminding me of the upcoming appointment for that afternoon that the office staff knew would never occur and had to be rescheduled.
Years ago I would call to make a doctor’s appointment and that was it. I wrote it down, they wrote it down, I showed up and the doctor showed up. No need for text confirmations, a one-week reminder as well as two computerized reminders for an appointment that was already cancelled.
Instead of working so hard to remind me, maybe they should work as hard to remind their computer.
Blessings, my friend,