Calling Once, Twice, Three Times Until….

That’s right.  You may need to call, fax, email, text – whichever way works – repeatedly in order to be heard and have your healthcare needs met.

This past week I called and left messages at my doctor’s office and the pharmacy. My goal, or I should say my hope, is to have a monthly, special order prescription filled. My responsibility in all of this is to call and remind the nurse to submit my prescription to the pharmacy.  I dutifully follow instructions and call every four weeks without fail.

This month there was a problem.  They say it’s the new, electronic Rx system at the doctor’s office – part of a very large, very well respected medical institution.  Initially, my Rx was mistakenly sent to the wrong pharmacy.  Oops.  Normally, this process is complete within a day. This month – it took four days and that was with my intervention.

Of course, mistakes happen. I understand. We’re all too human even in one of the largest, most outstanding medical facilities in the country with many, many skilled, dedicated healthcare providers.   Therein lies the problem –  some facilities are just too big. It’s not unusual for these smart professionals to wonder if they did “it” (called in the prescription/ordered the test, etc., etc.) prompting repetition or forgetting to do “it” altogether.  Ultimately, this impacts the precise people healthcare professionals are working so hard to help.

What can patients/caregivers do to avoid missteps?  Call, call again, leave a message, text, use the patient portal, if available, or send an email – whatever it takes to contact your healthcare professional and have your needs met.  Be persistent. Speaking for myself, I may not be all that talented, but I am darn sure persistent!!  Hey, it couldn’t hurt!

Please be a pain in the neck in the most pleasant way possible. Keep at it until you get the script, the office appointment, the test ordered or its results, your insurance filed / cleared up, billing questions answered and/or any pertinent medical advice you may need. Be patient, pleasant and persistent.  The 3P’s (Patient/Pleasant/Persistent) go a long way toward understanding and improving your health.   I often say, “Why Wait,” but in this case, I think I’ll go with “Don’t Wait!” instead.

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