Last Thursday the kids and I rode down to the big city with The Man. He works in a clinic down there 3 days a week, and sometimes we go along to do our shopping and visit the library. This time, I printed off The Man's Friday schedule and held on to his cell phone (he had his office number forwarded to his cell phone). As people called throughout the day to make appointments I was able to schedule them immediately instead of them leaving messages to be returned the next day. By the time I picked The Man up Thursday evening, his schedule for Friday looked pretty full.
The kids and I had just walked into the Goodwill store to browse when the phone rang. I answered it as I removed the schedule and pen from my pocket. It wasn't a patient, but a pharmacist wondering why The Man hadn't responded to faxed refill requests. I knew The Man had many problems with this particular pharmacy. I knew that within the past year I have called and talked to one of the employees about the inappropriateness of leaving personal patient information on our home phone voice mail--especially when our message only has a number and no name to identify it as belonging to The Man. The list of problems goes on with this pharmacy to the point that The Man is just about ready to no longer call or fax anything to this pharmacy.
Since I've only been helping out in the office for about a week, I didn't have any firsthand knowledge about the particular case. I told the pharmacist that The Man was out of the office, but I'd check into it and be able to help him Friday morning.
Five minutes later the phone rang again. This time it was the patient that the pharmacist had just called about. She also wanted to know what was going on. She stated she had known The Man for many years and trusted him, but she was beginning to wonder what was going on because the pharmacist had told her that The Man was the only doctor that they had problems faxing things to. She suggested that we had problems with our equipment. Grrrrrrr.
I was able to schedule 3 more appointments for Friday before leaving the Goodwill, but I certainly wasn't feeling a lot of good will. I was very annoyed and upset that the pharmacist had suggested to a patient that The Man was at fault for her not getting her refills. How dare the pharmacist blame my husband when they were the ones with all the problems!
That night when we got home, we assigned the children to unload the van and help the little ones to bed, then The Man and I got in the pickup and went to his office. I sat down at the computer and pulled up the fax log for the last few months. I sorted them so I could see all the faxes from the pharmacy in question. There were only a dozen or so that had come in from them since The Man updated his computer in June. Out of those few faxes, only 3 were for that patient, and none of them were for the drug the pharmacist had asked about.
As I looked at those 3 faxes, I noticed one of them had been sent to a different fax number, then the fax number crossed out and The Man's fax number written in beside it. BINGO! The pharmacy had been sending the faxes to someone else's number! Satisfied with my detective work, we went home.
The next morning the pharmacist called again. This time I asked him what number he had been sending that fax to. When he replied with the wrong number, I politely informed him that that number wasn't, and never was, The Man's fax number. However, I knew they did have our correct fax number since we had received several faxes from them. Oh. Then The Man talked to him to straighten out the patient's prescription. The pharmacist never apologized, but he did say he thought it was all straightened out in the system.
A few minutes later I talked to the patient to let her know that the situation had been resolved. I did emphasize to her that the fact that The Man hadn't "returned" the faxes had nothing to do with our equipment!
Even though the situation was very upsetting to me, I'm glad that it spurred me to figure out the underlying problem, so hopefully the patients can be better served in the future. I'm also glad that the situation wasn't our fault, and that I handled it as graciously as I'd want the other party to handle it if it had been our fault. I know that I have and will make mistakes. When I do, I hope I can admit my mistakes, apologize, and move on.
The rest of Friday was a blur for me. At 5:00 The Man left to do a home visit and I stayed for another 45 minutes to wrap up some things that needed to be done before the weekend. There are still a lot of other things I need to do before The Man is back in the office on Wednesday, but I'll go in tomorrow and work on those. Well, maybe I'll do it Monday. My house was very neglected last week and it shows!