Monday, August 8, 2011

Changes at the Clinic

One thing about living here, you come to expect changes.  And sure enough, the procedures at the clinic (EBAIS) have changed again :-). 

I had gone to my clinic in May for my regular blood tests, and had been putting off going back to find out the results.  Mainly, because I am (still) not a morning person, and any trip to the EBAIS means leaving the house by about 6 a.m.  Honestly, who can even think that early in the day?!?  Well, I made it this morning (sorta - I didn't actually leave the house until quarter after 6).  I got there after the crowd had already gotten their numbers (they open the doors at 6:30), but they hadn't run out of spaces.

About a year ago, they shut down a neighboring clinic, and so my clinic absorbed all those patients.  They modified the procedures then to have two sets of numbers - when you first came into the clinic, you would grab a number (from the right stack), then wait for them to call it.  Then you showed your carnet (like an insurance card) and ID, and got an assigned time for your appointment later in the morning.  This was sometimes enough time to go back home, go get some breakfast, or just sit there and read or chat with your neighbors.  When it was time for your appointment, the nurse would call your name, take down your information, take your weight, blood pressure, etc., then send you to the doctor.  On your way out, you dropped off your records, got any prescription slips or follow-up appointments, and you were done!

Now (don't ask me why), the procedures have changed again.  You no longer get an appointment time - everyone gets "7:00 a.m." (even if your number comes up after 7).  And, everyone first sees the nurse, then goes back out and waits for another call to see the doctor.  The effect of this is (1) a lot of confusion (2) irritable clinic office workers and (3) missed reading opportunities (the latter is especially tragic!).

My first hint of confusion was when people kept going back to the office window.  Then, when it was my turn, I fully expected "the usual" - I would present my carnet, and get an appointment.  But the clerk asked if I *had* an appointment for 7 a.m.  I thought "huh? it's after 7, and I'm here to *get* an appointment!"  And, of course, I had no clue what to actually say to her.  Finally, people took pity on me - another patient explained, and another clerk made my appointment (for 7 - LOL).  Everyone kept saying they would call me soon (and they did, but I suspect they were awfully tired of saying that to everyone).  Several of the times that I was waiting to be called, I sat next to a lovely lady who was a retired English teacher.  She said that *everyone* is confused by the new system.  And proof came soon enough - she didn't hear her number called, and so missed her place in line, and had to get a new number, waiting even longer.  There was not a single time while waiting that you could relax and simply wait without listening with great anxiety for either your number or your name.

All told, people now "wait" 5 times:
- wait in line for the door to open (the only time it is safe to read)
- wait for your number to be called
- wait for your name to be called to see the nurse
- wait to see the doctor
- wait to get your prescription slip or follow-up appointment

Ultimately, I was done by 8 a.m., so I really don't know if this new system is faster per patient, or if I just got lucky. 

But the good news?  All my test results are *great!*


Jen said...

Your new system is our "old" system. Hubby took daughter to get her first Drs. appt since moving here on Monday. Got an appt. for 2 hrs later. Doc gave her anti-parasite pills. HUH! That was a first!!!!

Julie said...

Our new-new system is that no one gets an actual appointment! Everyone just waits. and waits.
(I guess you got all the Dr. fun in the family up till now, eh?)