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Care providers need improved communication

Published: Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to communicate with your doctor?

Communicating with a care provider is like stepping back into time. Your care provider is stuck in the late 19th or early 20th century. Short of talking face to face, the only way to communicate with a care provider is by telephone, and that’s next to impossible.

At least, that’s how I find the clinic, CGH and the VA. Care providers never have email or voice mail. They don’t “tweet” or visit Facebook. Telephone – that’s it.

When you phone your doctor, you’ll usually get the obligatory computer message: “Your call is important to us. All of our customer representatives are busy helping other customers.” Yeah, right. You might get “Miss Computer” who will go on and on about which number to push, then finally tell you which number to push to talk to a live person.

The operator will try to convince you they can answer any question you may have. Operators try their best to prevent your call from going any further, but if you’re persistent, you can get to the doctor’s nurse (blockade No. 3). The nurse is even better at stopping your call because there’s always “the doctor is with another patient” or “the doctor is out of town.” Sometimes – you finally talk to the doctor.

So much of this hassle could be prevented if care providers would just come into the 21st century and provide voice mail or, better yet, email. A simple question could be answered at their leisure. We don’t really care who answers our question, as long as we don’t have to spend 30 minutes to an hour trying to ask it and have to go through the whole thing again when they don’t really understand the question to begin with.

Just my two cents.

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