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Talking with doctor
Old 03-22-2016, 02:17 PM   #1
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Talking with doctor

This is a little vent, and would welcome comments. About 2 years ago, I changed to a different primary care doctor. She is excellent and always spends plenty of time with me. She has referred me to some specialists and always says that if I have any questions, to call her. One of the specialists has recommended some surgery and I wanted to discuss this with her and decided to call her to get any opinions she may have. Have called twice and nobody has called me back. Not sure if she even got the messages. Granted, this is not an emergency and can wait, but it is irritating that nobody has called back. Maybe for matters like this, I should just make another appointment with her, I don't know. I have another scheduled appointment with her in June. And I was reflecting on how long it has been since I as a patient has actually spoken with a doctor on the phone. Not sure if I should call again, or make an earlier appointment with her to discuss. Would welcome any perspectives on this, especially anyone who works in the medical field. Am I out of line expecting a call from her?
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:18 PM   #2
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No but Drs get busy and probably get a lot of calls. Have you tried communicating via e-mail?
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:20 PM   #3
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You do not say how long you have been waiting. I would not make an appointment just for an opinion. Perhaps you could try her office again and ask how long you should expect for her to call you back.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:26 PM   #4
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Personally I'd rather talk face to face with the doctor as usually one question and response can lead to many more questions that may require in depth explanations. I've always been one to ask questions and make darn sure I understand the answers before I leave. Makes me feel good and I'm sure it also makes the physician more comfortable knowing the patient understands the ramifications of any procedure. I suspect for most doctors, time is of a premium and trying to discuss and explain things on the phone is not the most efficient use of their time. Just my two cents, YMMV.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:40 PM   #5
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Just make an appointment to see her, advise the receptionist what you need to discuss, and come with written questions. Be aware that (a) she's probably busier than you think; (b) she will not be reimbursed for phone calls with you and (c) she will be better able to advise you if she has time to research the background issue (which may involve a literature search and/or communicating with the specialist) before your meeting.

I have known some physicians who attempted to return patient calls on a routine basis. They didn't have a life, and their clinic appointments were often delayed by these phone calls.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:46 PM   #6
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If the doctor is not getting paid to call you, then there is no reason to call you.

Sorry, but that is the real world nowadays.

If this was a "concierge" doctor, then they should have called you.

My physician does things by e-mail.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post
This is a little vent, and would welcome comments. About 2 years ago, I changed to a different primary care doctor. She is excellent and always spends plenty of time with me. She has referred me to some specialists and always says that if I have any questions, to call her. One of the specialists has recommended some surgery and I wanted to discuss this with her and decided to call her to get any opinions she may have. Have called twice and nobody has called me back. Not sure if she even got the messages. Granted, this is not an emergency and can wait, but it is irritating that nobody has called back. Maybe for matters like this, I should just make another appointment with her, I don't know. I have another scheduled appointment with her in June. And I was reflecting on how long it has been since I as a patient has actually spoken with a doctor on the phone. Not sure if I should call again, or make an earlier appointment with her to discuss. Would welcome any perspectives on this, especially anyone who works in the medical field. Am I out of line expecting a call from her?
I would schedule an appointment to follow up on this. You are seeking the doctor's professional opinion and need time to discuss the issues including whether to get an opinion from another specialist. Sounds like an appointment to me. The doctor needs to review your case notes and any report she got from this referral. This is not as simple as getting clarification on instructions on a prescription, or other really quick question.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I would schedule an appointment to follow up on this. You are seeking the doctor's professional opinion and need time to discuss the issues including whether to get an opinion from another specialist. Sounds like an appointment to me. The doctor needs to review your case notes and any report she got from this referral. This is not as simple as getting clarification on instructions on a prescription, or other really quick question.
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Some questions:

1) Do you have an HMO or PPO? It can make a difference, and as noted above, physicians don't get reimbursed for phone calls, and their patient time is very limited (else they will lose money).
2) Have you already seen this specialist and therefore is this simply a follow-up call? If you haven't even seen the specialist yet, I would not expect a return phone call. If you have, as noted above, many physicians work via email now. Your call might be returned by a nurse in the office; then again, it might not.

Also as noted above, if I was referred for surgery I personally would not feel comfortable discussing my concerns over the phone. Surgery, however minor, calls for an in-person visit.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:36 PM   #9
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You might consider seeing a different specialist for that second opinion.
But to answer your question I typically get a call back from a nurse unless it's more serious, then my doctor does call, though usually late, I think from her home based on caller ID.


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