A medical receptionist searches for a way to alleviate her filing burdens.
|Working as a receptionist at medical office in Denver, CO isn’t a pretty job. Every day brings with it a line of irritable customers. They come in sick, tired or upset. Many times it’s a combination of the three. On top of that, there’s my inattentive boss, Dr. Hurklestein, who I call Dr. H.|
You see, Dr. H is a busy, busy man. He barely has time to attend to his own business, let alone anything I might need. But he speaks to me quite a bit. He tells me to file, to fax, to copy and to order lunch.
The problem with having an insanely busy boss in a medical office comes in the form of missing documents. While Dr. H is very good about handing down orders to me, he isn’t always the best when it comes to dropping the patients’ records back at my desk after he is done.
When working in a medical office, files and records play a critical role in each patient’s treatment. In a traditional office, files are called upon to occasionally cross reference contracts, employees or reports. In a medical environment, every time a patient comes in, their file must be updated. Over time, the file grows in size. Our more regular patients’ files grow to be monstrous.
One of those regulars is Margaret Hillsbury. Margaret is one of those patients who come in for every headache, scratch or bump. Her file has grown to encompass nearly the first third of the E – L drawer. The combination of an oversized file and an unavailable doctor is a recipe for disaster.
That disaster came on a sunny May afternoon. Margaret was scheduled to stop by to check on a strange bump in her abdomen. Dr. H believed it to be gas, but my money was on a spider bite. Margaret arrived, and after some brief small talk, she was shown back to an examination room.
Dr. H briskly walked up to my desk and asked for Margaret’s file. He busied himself with some papers that needed signing. I opened E – L and walked my fingers back to her giant file. I pulled it up and gave it a quick once over. Something was wrong.
The most recent attachment was dated nearly three weeks back. I quickly ran over Margaret’s last two visits in my head. Let’s see, the last time she was here, we were discussing Desperate Housewives and her son’s upcoming last week at school. The time before that had been something about her new haircut. Judging from the length of her bangs, I’d say that was somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks ago, and if my calculations were correct, local schools had let out for summer break last Friday.
That put her at two completed visits within the last month. I felt a chill run down my spine. It’s bad enough realizing you messed up your work, but having your boss standing a few feet away from you at the time is downright scary.
I put on my cutest puppy dog face and turned in my chair to face Dr. H. This was not the first time something of this nature had happened. I’m good at my job, and I’m not saying that Dr. H is a terrible boss. I am saying that at times it is difficult to keep up with all my tasks.
If I was a bit more humble, I’d ask for another assistant to help lighten the work load. However, I believed in myself and my abilities. There had to be a way to solve this problem and remain queen of the roost.
Dr. H was not pleased with the missing paperwork, but remembered enough of Margaret’s last visit to get by. Before leaving to tend to her, he suggested that I work on my filing, or perhaps find a new system to work with.
Once he was far enough away from reception I let out a heavy sigh. Hearing these kinds of statements from my boss tended to stress me out. Visions of a replacement receptionist danced in front of my eyes, and she was wearing Prada.
What kind of new system could I find? I absent mindedly paged through the appointment calendar on my computer. If only all my files were on here! All my records would be a click away.
Scanning the hundreds of pieces of paper that occupied the several filing cabinets behind didn’t sound like something I’d be too apt to do. I rarely had more than thirty minutes free time (other than my lunch break) during my day.
At lunch, I sat with a receptionist friend of mine from the 5th floor, Vicky. Vicky was a clever woman. More than once I had seen her slip out of trouble with her quick wit and ability to problem solve on the spot.
I shared my concerns with her over a roast beef sandwich. It turned out that several months ago she had run into a similar problem.
“Between Dr. Jordan and that damned intern handing me and asking for files and greeting incoming customers, I had misplaced several folders,” she said. “By the time I found them, the intern was suggesting a new receptionist.”
I nodded my head to her story. A disconcerting feeling was rising from the pit of my stomach. I loved my job, and the thought of losing it over misplaced pieces of paper made me sick.
“So what did you do Vicky? Get rid of the Intern?”
Vicky chuckled. “I wish. No, I found a document scanning service that came to the office and scanned every piece of paper into a backed up database. Now, whenever I need to find a patient’s file, I just perform a search and pull up everything that’s listed under their name. You should give them a call. They’re listed online at http://www.mountain-scanners.com.”
I thanked Vicky for her help and headed back to my desk. After a few minutes of research, I found a program that I though would work well for our office. Hopefully I’d be able to sell Dr. H on the idea.
At the end of the day, Dr. H and I sat and discussed the service. We looked at a few plans and picked one that could work for our environment. Dr. H patted me on the back and congratulated me on my resourcefulness. As I left for home, I thought to myself that I would have to buy Vicky a drink.
I was joined at my desk by an employee from Mountain Scanners for the next few weeks. I worked on keeping things running smoothly while he worked on scanning all our documents to a small server. The whole ordeal took very little effort on my or Dr. H’s part.
Since the conversion, work has been a dream. Even in the height of flu and cold season, I’ve been able to keep a great attitude. The lifted burden has also granted me an unexpected surprise. I’ve been left with more time for chit chat with Margaret.