Few things are more complicated in a primary care physicians office than a new patient visit. No it is not brain surgery, but in the day to day, it causes more irritations than you might expect. Well a brand new healthy baby, is fairly easy, as is the cough and cold, who has no real medical problems. The problems arise from arise from the patient who has chronic medical problems, and it is not all their fault either.
In my office, we became record keepers for a physician who left town. It seemed like a simple enough thing to do,when we agreed to it. Since we have their records, many of her patients followed. Easy right? Wrong. First we are working with two entirely different systems, and while the government has the idea that one day all of these systems will talk to one another we are probably 5 years from that with the most ideal systems. And our system seems to be light years ahead of the other system
Since we have this other set of records, the new patients are grumbling about having to fill out new patient paperwork, and say that they didn’t bring their medication lists because they thought we had their records, or they may know what medication they are on, but not the dosages. All of these lead to frustrations and complications as we try to establish a new relationship.
You might ask, well if we have the records why not just look at the old charts? While that is an excellent idea, we found that all of the patient’s medications they have ever taken are in that chart, and all of the dosages, and the dates, well they are difficult to find and match up. So we call the pharmacies, and they have become our nurses’ best friends. They have the closest list, except if the patient filled somewhere else, or got samples, etc.
However, there are good things about new patient visits. The medications are viewed with fresh eyes. Sometimes physicians get tunnel vision, and with perfectly good intentions, the patient ends up with 20 different medications. And some of those medications are for the treatment of side effects of other medications. I would like to say that I had never done that, but I know that is a lie, and I do have some integrity. But the new physician, can question, “Why are you one this medication?” “Do you feel like this medication is working for you, or can we try to decrease it?” And with those questions you get smiles. And it is a whole new beginning, and maybe this will be their new home.