Friday, October 18, 2013

Misplaced priorities?

In an emergency, time matters, right?

The following recorded message is currently being provided when you call a local primary care clinic.  It clearly was just dropped in before the regular message. There is no way to bypass it. Did someone forget about the medical emergency advice that usually comes up front, or was there a conscious decision to push it back?

I understand the challenges that clinics face in providing clear, concise, and current patient information.  I wonder how other places have solved this particular problem.

Thank you for calling [name].  At the present we are offering the flu vaccine for all patients interested in obtaining it.  If interested, please be sure sure to ask your doctor or nurse practictioner for it during your visit.  We also have a walk-in clinic available for you in [location] from 8:30 am until 5:00pm.  The flu shot will be charged to your insurance.

Please remain on the line for our main menu.

Thank you for calling [name, repeated].

[30 seconds in] If this is a medical emergency, hang up and dial 911 or your local medical response number.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it only common sense that in a TRUE emergency you call 911? Who in the world is calling their doctor's office and listening to recorded messages? The bigger problem is people who are using the ER for non emergencies... they should not be treated in the ER and be referred back to their PCP office. A little common sense would go a long way to reducing health care costs.

Anonymous said...

I can understand (even if I don't agree with) the reason the "call 911" message is so prevalent. It should be clear cut that if you have had your run over by a lawnmower that an emergency call should not be placed to ones PCP. However, working in cardiology, where life threatening symptoms can sometimes seem vague to patients, I would have to assume a lot of lives are saved by telling people to call 911 rather than leaving a message and waiting until Monday for a return call.
Personally, I hate the message. It takes up time in between my call being placed and the time I FINALLY get to the part where I learn which number to press to complete my call. I know of physicians offices that have only three people (including the doc) that have 7 or eight different selections on their phone tree...all of which get you the same receptionist.