Honest to pete. We called to check how things were going on Friday with the whole scheduling the ass cheek biopsy process… Let’s put it this way, the phlebotomist couldn’t find the doctor’s code in the database. Probably not as shocking as it would seem, as a) it’s an Oracle database (look, I’ve been there, done that, and you can certainly tell) and b) the Brigham is a teaching hospital… and even attending physicians take time to move through the ranks and get solidified into the database. My orthopedic doctor is an actual full time attending doctor/faculty member, but he’s a new one. So it wasn’t surprising that she couldn’t find him, and I was happy when she stopped trying to change his name and said, “I’m going to screw this up if I keep looking now, I’ll get it matched when I have a free minute.”
Then I wondered if she had a free moment ever… You know, you just wonder. On Friday, I learned that she had indeed gone back and found his codes, but an emergency surgery kept the doctor from doing much Thursday and into Friday. I should hear by Monday afternoon. Okay, fine. Stuff happens.
Except I didn’t hear, and when we called on Monday afternoon we learned that there’s a paperwork pile up and they’re not sure if the request has made it to scheduling yet. O-kay. And so I restart taking naproxen. It doesn’t do a whole lot, but it does more than Tylenol. And they said that they’ll tell me when to stop before they do the biopsy… which damned if we know when that is. I get pissy because this shouldn’t be the hard part. I get that emergencies pop up. I mean, I’m glad it’s not my emergency surgery. You can’t foresee that stuff, whether you are a patient or a doctor. But, um, as a doctor you can count on paperwork and the fact that someone will require an emergency surgery (most likely at the same point you are getting mired down in the paperwork). And you’re a doctor.
I know hospital administrators and insurance companies don’t make it easier, but dammit all, paperwork is not hard. It’s not fun or rewarding. and we all hate all-in-one office devices. But it’s part of the job too, and I can tell you this much: there are definitely hospital networks that deal with this more effectively than others. How paperwork is handled doesn’t directly relate with how skilled a group of physicians are — except that it adds so much frustration to the situation that it makes me wish that DFCI wasn’t affiliated with the Brigham at the moment.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to go to work and face piles of incoming paperwork. I’m just frickin’ sayin’.