Skip to content

Phone Call Shuffle.

The appointment scheduling protocol sheet was long, but had all the right information and phone numbers for the different hospitals and specialists.  The hospitals are all part of the same group, so my information should be on file, in theory.  Should be easy enough to jump right in and start making phone calls.

Lots of shoulds.

“Hi, I’m a patient at [Hospital Name].  I’m calling to schedule a [routine pregnancy screening for patients with diabetes].”

“Okay.  Date of birth?”


“We need to have an order from your doctor’s office.  Please have them fax one over to us.”

“My records aren’t in the system?”

“They are, but the order for that specific test is not.”

“Okay.  I’ll call my OB/GYN and ask their office to update the records to reflect the order.  Thanks.”

Hang up, call the next number to make the next routine appointment.

“Hi, I’m a patient at [Hospital Name].  I’m calling to schedule a [routine pregnancy screening for patients with diabetes].”

“Okay.  Your  hospital ID number?”


“We need your records sent over before we can authorize the test.”

Mildly frustrated but trying not to let hormones win.  “The protocol sheet I was given by my doctor said that all I had to do was call to schedule the appointment.”

“Yes, but we need your records, specifically your last ultrasound.”

“No problem. I’ll call over to the OB/GYN now and then call you back.  Thanks.”

Hang up.  Call high-risk maternal fetal medicine doctor’s office.

“Hi, I’m a patient with [doctor’s name].”  Give ID details.  “I tried to call and schedule a [routine pregnancy screenings for patients with diabetes] at [other hospitals] but they didn’t have my records or the lab orders.  Would it be possible to have those sent over so I can schedule those appointment?”

“Of course.  We need to have you fax over a signed authorization form to our office, stating that we can send your records over to their office.”

Laughing by this point.  “A fax?  I don’t have access to a fax machine.  Welcome to my 21st century medical problems.  Can I email it?  Or, can I just sign that form when I come in for my appointment this week?”

“Yes, that works.  And then I can send it over to them and you can call and make that appointment.”

“Thanks for your help.  See you tomorrow.”

Spent ten minutes making phone calls and essentially accomplished nothing.  Healthcare (in)efficiency for the win.


13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Deb #

    My husband is a patient in a hospital system that is world famous for its use of electronic medical records (the CEO is regularly shown meeting with Obama at the White House), yet he had to hand carry a disk with his CT on it from his doctor’s office (linked electronically) to the main campus of the hospital, because they “couldn’t see it” otherwise!

    03/24/16; 10:57 am
  2. I am always wildly frustrated when they want to to “fax”. does. Not. Compute. 😛

    03/24/16; 11:09 am
  3. Sorry for the frustration, Kerri. Never-ends, does it? Went through this recently on my endo/primary care side. But insurance was the WORST — like when I wanted something sent that didn’t have my specific HIPAA info included but was generally, and they could not email. Only fax. And I had to be PRESENT AT THE FAX MACHINE AT THAT MOMENT to confirm by phone, live in the moment, that I received it. Finally gave up and had them mail it. They messed that up too, and 15 days later I got it. Such a rigged, convoluted system.

    03/24/16; 11:43 am
  4. Susan #

    There is a Microsoft Fax extension which allows you to send electronically for a fax machine (we have one where I work) but I think it might require a specific fax modem. But the struggle is definitely real.

    03/24/16; 12:26 pm
  5. Son of a mother frogger.

    03/24/16; 12:31 pm
  6. andy #

    Isn’t obama and this socialized medicine great! Wake up. All this e record stuff all started with him and the democrats.

    03/24/16; 1:32 pm
  7. Is this at ______? (Rhymes with Swimmin’ with Pimp Friends.)

    I always feel like they know *everything* about *everyone* in the most frightening way.

    03/24/16; 1:39 pm
    • I mean, not at Swim. W. P. F. specifically, but with its overlord.

      03/24/16; 1:40 pm
      • This made me laugh endlessly. No, I’m not handling my pregnancy in Rhode Island. I’m going through the Joslin/Beth Israel clinic. The commute is garbage but I feel like the care is superior, considering all the stuff going on and the fact that they got it done the first time around. 🙂

        03/24/16; 3:12 pm
  8. Argh! This is so frustrating. Kerri, you are more patient — no pun intended — than I. I would have called out the BS of the whole situation and then promptly go to health grades to leave a “review” of that process.


    03/24/16; 7:26 pm
  9. Sandy t #

    Yeah I don’t get why the medical world still uses faxes? I loose all confidence when I hear that. And beepers. They still use faxes and beepers.
    That being said so sorry for you frustrating calls. You held it together better than I would have.

    03/26/16; 12:08 pm
    • Healthlawyer #

      HIPAA requires 256 bit encryption when something is sent, while it is in transmission, and when it is received and stored if it is going electronically (email). A regular person doesn’t have the ability to do that, so they fax. beepers are for the same reason, a text message isn’t encrypted.

      03/30/16; 6:04 pm
  10. Jess R #

    Yea, I was in a nearly month-long battle with getting my dexcom sensors covered and delivered from a new company, a lot of which focused on getting a stupid fax sent back and forth between the doctors office, insurance company, and distributor. Ridiculous.

    Ha, and I definitely had a couple emotional moments while on the phone figuring this out, so props to you.

    03/28/16; 2:56 pm

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers