Posts Tagged paging

Standardizing Answering Services Haiku

Can we standardize
A doctor’s call services?
I am losing it.

Sometimes, I hit STAR
Other times, it is SEVEN
One office is EIGHT.

Hold music is nice
Soothing while I am waiting
But please, hurry up!

Let’s just use ZERO!
Quit wasting my time, puh-lease
For courtesy calls.

Slow enough as is
Dialed three numbers already
Awaiting call back.

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Beepers: Buh-Bye

image courtesy flickr's elainegreycats

image courtesy flickr's elainegreycats

One of my favorite emergency physician bloggers, Ten out of Ten, wrote a great piece last week about loathing the beeper, and I can only sing the same tune.

It absolutely blows my mind how much time I can spend trying to page a private medical doctor or consultant.

  1. Call the private’s office.
  2. Try hitting 0, but this only works 30% of the time, and sometimes it’s a random button like “8” to reach the operating service.
  3. Speak with operating service, repeating my name, hospital, phone number, patient’s name, and date of birth three times over, slooowwwly.
  4. Private eventually responds, tell quick story, find out private wants to use the hospitalist or resident service.
  5. Call the hospitalist.
  6. 2-3 pages later, right in the middle of a discussion with another patient, hospitalist responds, or resident service responds, but they’re capped, or I’ve been paging the wrong number, finally sign patient out.
  7. As Ten out of Ten suggests, please for the love of all that is good and efficient, let’s use cellphones. Why are we still carrying around 1980s drug dealer-style boxes when we already have a fancy-schmancy voice and text-capable device with us at all times anyway? (Okay fine, let’s do a big study and confirm, once and for all, that cellphones don’t do anything to medical equipment, and then do away with beepers.)

    And why not use some sort of software/web solution like Google Voice to do all the work? Call one phone number, and it automatically forwards to the on-call cellphone. If the call is not answered, you leave a voicemail, and a text message is sent to the phone every 10 minutes until someone responds. That way you have the convenience of a pager (call back when you’re available) along with the direct-connection of a cellphone. And the call schedule is automatically fed into the system so it autoforwards without anyone intervening; if something gets goofed up, you just login to the website, click a button, and re-route the calls to someone else.

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