“I need an appointment” 

How hard is it to get an appointment with your doctor?

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  1. Call the office, hear a message about calling 911, get placed on hold or leave voice message (after navigating automated attendant).

  2. Get called back to find out the reason for your appointment.

  3. Appointment is made around what is open for the doctor.

  4. Take time away from your schedule to meet doctor’s schedule.

OUR PRACTICE:

  • Send a secure message regarding needing an appointment

Or

  • Call the office and tell a human being that you need an appointment.


“I need a medication refilled”

How many steps does it take to get a prescription?

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  1. Call the office, hear a message about calling 911, get placed on hold or leave voice message (after navigating automated attendant).

  2. Get called back (or get voice message) with notification of refill or questions about it.

  3. If there are questions, then you call the office again, hear a message about calling 911, get placed on hold or leave voice message answering the questions (after navigating automated attendant).

  4. Go to step 2 and repeat cycle until done.

OUR PRACTICE:

  • Send a secure electronic message regarding the medication you want refilled.

Or

  • Call the office and tell a human being what you need refilled.


“What medications should I be taking?”

Do you know what medications you should be taking? How do you find out?

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  1. Call the office, hear a message about calling 911, get placed on hold or leave voice message (after navigating automated attendant).

  2. Get called back by a nurse who goes over the list they have in their chart system, which may be inaccurate if you've:

    1. Seen another doctor

    2. Gone to the ER

    3. Been in the hospital

    4. Had the nerve to stop taking medications on your own.

  3. The doctor/office staff hasn’t reviewed your medications with you at a recent visit.

  4. Write down your list and do your best to keep track of it.

OUR PRACTICE:

  • Log on to your personal record, which is maintained both you and your doctor, and is available online (or printed out if you want). This list will likely be accurate, since

    • You can change medications on the list whenever you want (and doing so notifies your doctor)

    • Your doctor reviews the list regularly, even if you don’t have appointments.

Or:

  • Call our office and discuss with a human, who will look at your personal health record, correcting it if it is incorrect, giving you immediate access to the list, whenever and wherever you want.


“My foot hurts” or “My baby is sick” (minor problem)

How to you know what to do when you have a minor problem? You don't want to waste money on going to the doctor for something that's not serious, but you don't want to have a little one turn into a big one either.

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  • Look it up online (hoping your choice of advice is right) and follow advice of someone you do not know if you should trust.

Or:

  1. Call the office, listen again to the message about calling 911, get placed on hold or leave voice message (after navigating automated attendant).

  2. Get called back by nurse who either tells you to come in for an appointment, or takes a message and sends your symptoms to the doctor.

  3. Doctor sends message back to the nurse (usually at the end of the day), either telling you what to do, or tells you to come in to the office.

  4. If told to come to the office, you then complete steps in “a typical appointment” below.

OUR PRACTICE:

  • Log on to advice section offered by my practice, which offers you 3 options.

1. Something written by me about what I recommend.

2. A video of my advice about the symptom/problem.

3. A list of trusted websites that help answer your question.

Or:

  • Call the office and talk to a human being (maybe even the doctor) about what to do, who will only bring you in to the office for the parts of the encounter that can’t be done over the phone.

Or:

  • Send a message to your doctor asking a question about your foot. The doctor will respond via electronic message (or call you) and will only bring you to the office for a brief exam (if needed).


“My chest hurts” (major problem)

What happens when you have a symptom that is either minor or life-threatening? How do you figure out if you should treat it as an emergency? How can you be reassured that you aren't going to have a serious problem, avoiding an unnecessary visit to the ER?

If it is during office hours:

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  1. Call the office, listen to a message about calling 911, and get put on hold while waiting for a nurse to talk to you (if the front-desk person doesn’t tell you automatically to go to the ER). Obviously you don’t leave a message about chest pain.

  2. The nurse either tells you to:

    1. Go to the ER (see “Go to the ER” below)

    2. Come in for an appointment immediately (see “a typical appointment” below)

    3. Puts you on hold while the doctor is asked (who will probably tell you to go to the ER or come in for an appointment).

OUR PRACTICE:

  1. Call the office and talk to a real person (probably the doctor) who knows you and tells you:

    1. How to treat the problem outside of the office, if appropriate.

    2. Come in to the office for an exam or a few tests, if appropriate. See “a typical appointment below.”

    3. Go to the ER (if appropriate). See “Go to the ER” section below.


If it is after office hours:

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  1. Call answering service, which will almost always tell you to go to the ER (see “Go to the ER” below).

  2. If you do talk to a doctor, they are not likely to be your doctor.

OUR PRACTICE:

  • Call the office, which forwards your call to your doctor's cell phone (if you are a subscribed patient), who answers your question based on what he knows about you.