Friday, January 20, 2012

worried well

I have had a week of many worried well patients coming into the clinic... post holidays there is always a rush of panic attacks, anxiety and depression as many lonely patients seek help for ongoing stress related conditions, but I can't recall a week of such interesting and random worried well complaints. This being said.. I have had a huge influx of questions... ranging from "is it ok to take vitamin C with my antibiotic" to "can you just check my blood pressure, I feel fine, but just want to know what it is".. to my favorite, "do you know of a person that would come to read to me in my house while I recover from the flu?" (Uh... no, sir, I do not.. but ask your local library... librarian is probably cursing under his/her breath at me right now). In addition, I have seen an increase in the "phantom phone call" visits.. patients receive a phone message, aren't sure from whom, or what number, but are convinced their primary care clinic might be the origin of this call, or know of the details.. i have not had ONE case where I have been able to track down any clarification of said supposed call.. nor a patient that has saved a voicemail message for me to even listen to. Sometimes I suspect that it may be an automated message from our new clinic phone system... but then a re check of a non-up-to-date phone number quickly confirms that this could not be the case.

Take home message(s);

- your doctor or NP knows a lot, but not everything...
- we appreciate the respect that your assumption that we DO know everything communicates, and are glad you feel well cared for
- save phone messages, and write down names/phone numbers.. hell, when you call us, listen to our voicemail that asks you to do the same, an kindly comply
- when you change your phone number and/or address, update the clinic please.. we need to reach you sometimes, and make sure you know your phone number as well.. especially if it has changed (and we recognize the unique life scenerios that necesitate frequent contact info changes).

that is all. Happy Friday!


  1. Funny, saying your doctor or NP knows a lot, but not everything. Even as a nurse and NP student, when I go to the doctor I realize i forget to ask things or when I do my doctor does not know the answers.
    Health care is a funny business and patients need to remember that everything they read on the Internet does not pertain to them.

    Yes, patients please update your information.

    1. one thing that can really help is an agenda setting form that the MA has the patient fill out prior to the visit, it can have the patient list the three things they want to address in the vist, and also ask if they have been seen in the ED/specialist (so you can get the record), gotten any labs or studies done (so you can get the result ready), and if they need any forms filled out (so they/you can get a head start)... this helps to focus the visit from the start, and helps the provider enter the room prepared (by a handy MA who read the agenda form!).... it's an amazingly simple way to help with visit efficiency and also empower MAs to their highest licensure level (part of the patient centered medical home model). Tom Bodenheimer at UCSF is doing some great research regarding similar strategies to combat the ever increasing demands of primary care;

  2. I agree about updating the contact numbers. Nothing is more agrravating than getting what seems to be an urgent request but no way to respond. It can be dangerous.