September 13, 2017

"Take the Call"How do you respond when calling another physician to discuss a patient and the office staff asks, “Do you want me to interrupt him/her?” 

How do you feel when someone does request to have you interrupted and when you get to the phone the caller’s office staff says, “Oh, let me get him,” while you now wait for the caller to begin the call?

Each of these situations makes me frustrated and contributes to my sense of depersonalization in medicine. Communication is key to professional behavior.

We have an opportunity to examine how we participate in our medical community. Taking a call from a colleague or holding the line ourselves is a good first step. Taking the lead with our office staff so they will know our preferences regarding interruption can help avoid the caller’s discomfort on bothering another physician. I would prefer to be interrupted momentarily rather than play telephone tag and possibly delay patient care.

On another note, the end of 2017 is fast approaching. All physicians in New Hampshire with a DEA certificate whose license expires in June 2018, will need three hours of CME training on opioid prescribing. The upcoming NHMS conference from November 3-5, is certified to meet this criteria - another good reason to attend!  


Deb Harrigan, MD

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