Sunday, April 20, 2008

At Your Beck and Call

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<07> Sally Smith 847-555-1234 same 65 ENH tecca-cardia attack
4:46AM 20 APR 2008

"Hello, this is Dr. Fisher returning your page."

"Yes doctor, thank you for calling. I'm a patient for Dr. Jones and had surgery in August. I think my heart raced this morning and it woke me from sleep."

"Is it racing now?"


"Uh, I'm not sure."

"Does it feel like your heart beat is regular or irregular?"


"I think it's regular."

"What medicines are you taking?"

"Uh, I'm not sure. I'm not very good at remembering..."

"Do you have a list where they're written down?"

"Yes, but I'm in bed and the list is downstairs."

"Well, now that there's two of up early this morning, you mind retrieving it?"
Please, when you call your doctor about a health concern, have your medication list (complete with names and doses of the drugs) in hand before you make the call.



Anonymous said...

don't worry, soon patients will expect you to have emr access 24/7. then they won't need to do those things, they will just blame you for things like emr maintenance and computer crashing and loss of internet access, rather than taking the trouble to have their medication list handy.

DrWes said...


Yep. I've been there, too; while at dinner with my wife:

"What, can't you look at my electronic record and get the list?"

Involving ourselves in our own care is critical to assuring timely and accurate treatment decisions are made. Knowing which medications we are actually taking is one critical aspect to assuring that proper care is rendered.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the electronic records re meds are imperfect. I happen to be a patient in the 'system' dr. wes is associated with. it's amazing to me to view my electronic records...not all physicians use 'Epic' - and for those who don't, their prescriptions are not reflected in the patient record. Unless the patient is aware of this, relying on the electronic record can be a bit problematic.

The Happy Hospitalist said...

substitute "call your doctor", with "showing up in the ER", or "directly admitting to the hospital"

The patient, because they are the ones taking the medication, should always carry an updated list of all their medications with them at all times.

There is not a system in the world that will every be as good as an updated list personally carried by the patient. It is just one of their responsibilies in a land of many.