Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Just Wanted an Appointment

I have never liked going to the doctor and over the years it has gotten worse.  I get so anxious that when I finally get in the doctor’s office, my mind goes blank and my response to questions is either “Things are okay” or “I am fine”.  I am great at delaying and putting things off.  But I finally found a primary care doctor that I really like and trust so I decided to quit procrastinating and seek medical treatment for a condition that bothers me.  I had an appointment with him yesterday and he took a lot of extra time to discuss things with me.  My doctor wants me to get an ultrasound done, then go see two specialists, and then we will discuss the next step.

So, today I was determined!  My motto was “Get it done!”  I picked up the phone to call and schedule the diagnostic study.  I paused the TV and called the phone number on the referral.  A polite man answers the phone and gets all my information: full name, birthdate, complete address, phone number and insurance carrier.  Then he tells me they don’t schedule that particular procedure and he would have to transfer me.  I got his name and the number he was transferring me to “just in case… ”, and shortly thereafter I was speaking to polite woman.  We go through the whole routine again (name, birthdate, etc.) and once more I am informed that I have the wrong number, they don’t schedule that study, and I will have to be transferred.  This process happened again and again.  Sometimes I was able to get the person’s name.  Sometimes I was able to get the number they were transferring me to.  Some of the people I spoke with were great – polite and very helpful.  But some of them were rude and not the least bit obliging.  Usually, the transfer went just fine but several times I was disconnected from the system.

After thirty minutes and two rude people in a row, I started to get upset (one person insisted I was not in the system and the other said she couldn’t schedule the ultrasound without the order number even though I told her I had it on my copy and I could read it to her).  I was transferred one more time and the woman who I spoke with was polite and helpful but she would have to transfer me again!  “Just in case” I got the phone number and it was the same one I started with!  I lost it.  My hands started shaking and my voice got all quivery, and I told her I was really upset.  I told her that I had already called that number and they just transferred me.  I told her that all I wanted to do was get the diagnostic study scheduled.

She apologized profusely but had to put me on hold.  When she got back on the phone she told me that even though she didn’t handle the scheduling of the requested procedure, she would take care of it.  Once again I give all my information and, ta-da, I am scheduled for next week!  Now that was a great example of good customer service.  When I finally hung up the DVR on my TV said 40 minutes and 39 seconds had passed!  No wonder dealing with the medical community causes anxiety!