These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Office Conundrum

Princess calls all our patients the day before their appointments to remind them about their appointment.  It is very common for doctor’s offices to do this.  Why, you ask?  Because people forget that they made the appointment.  They don’t come to the office.  We sit around looking at each other.  Other patients who could have come in for appointments can’t come in.  Besides, it costs us money every time someone doesn’t come in.  That raises the price for everyone else. 

What happens when Princess calls? 

Her favorite thing is to talk to the person who made the appointment.  They confirm it.  Everyone is happy.  This is a rarity.  Her next favorite is to get the machine and leave a message.  This is more common.

I hear a lot of grumbling about numbers that are “not in service”.  Another complaint Princess makes often is that mailboxes are full.  We have people that won’t answer their phones at all.  We have people that answer the phone and say they have no idea who that person is. (????)

My personal favorite is when Princess calls someone and they deny ever having made the appointment.  Princess is the only one that makes appointments.  So she KNOWS that the person made it.  She won’t let anyone but the patient make an appointment.  She knows it wasn’t the mom or the husband.  I don’t treat Alzheimer’s patients. 

Several years ago I instituted a “missed appointment fee”.  If you don’t show up, there’s a charge.  This covers part of the time we waste when you aren’t here.  It’s also a stimulus to keep your visit.  I think that’s why people say they have no idea what Princess is talking about.  

Yeah, right! 

You can’t be seen until you pay that fee.  Most patients have no intention of ever paying it.  I’m so sorry.  That’s how I get rid of patients who are unreliable.  My cardiologist told me I need less stress.  This helps me, but I’m a little worried about Princess’s blood pressure. 

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