Thursday, February 3, 2011

I got a bachelor's degree for this?!

Part of my job as a nurse is to "coordinate care" between assorted agencies. When it comes to coordinating care between the patient's mental health and medical health providers, it can get complicated and very annoying fast. Usually the process looks something like this:

I call the Primarycaredoc office and wait on hold hearing automated messages about "your call is very important to us. Protect the ones you love by getting a flu shot" for at least five minutes before I get a live person, who will transfer me to someone else.
Request the most recent visit note and medication list on Joe Patient.
"I'm sorry, we need a release of information to give you that information."
Check client's computer chart to make sure we have a release. Yes, there is one for Primarycaredoc, and it's been in effect since 2007.
"We need you to fax us the original copy of it before we can do anything."
Find client's paper chart (praying it's not in one of the offices in the other two towns I work in) and fax release to them.
Wait 4 hours.
Call back to ask them to fax the information. The person I talked to before will be at lunch/on medical leave/abducted by aliens and the staff I talk to will have no idea what needs done.
Wait for fax.
Blame Primarycaredoc's office when Dr. Warmnfuzzy wants to know what the patient's medical history is before she prescribes large amounts of psychotropic medications to him.
Receive fax about ten minutes before our office closes.

Today, I called Dr. Familypractice (part of Primarycaredoc practice) for "the usual" on Joe Patient.
A secretary picked up the phone immediately (a real, live person! Squee!) and asked for my fax number, then said she'd "get right on it." Then she asked if I wanted Joe's CT scan results too, or just his most recent laboratory results.
And less than three minutes later, the information I wanted over the fax line! It made my day, which reminds me just how boring my life really is. And that I probably should be nicer to Primarycardoc's office staff.

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