September 21, 2006

Stupid Lab Tricks

My blog sis Bou recently had to go to the lab and have blood drawn for routine blood tests. It wasn't pretty...

My name was called and my confirmation number asked for. I explained that I forgot it and was met with an icy stare combined with the “you are the 100th stupid person I have dealt with today and it is only 8AM.” I apologized and asked if she could look it up.

At the moment I'm thinking... a VERY nasty letter about this woman's "desk-side manner" and their idiotic appointment system, would be on it's way to her bosses. That remark was completely uncalled for. I don't care what her excuse might be, I don't care what she has to do to work around this, that's her job, to take care of these kinds of issues. Why does she think she was hired? To go through a rote "good morning, have a seat"? This type of behavior should be grounds for firing her. Period.

We all forget stuff, even important stuff, so when we do, we are already feeling pretty stupid ourselves for not having everything together. This woman is taking advantage of the fact that Bou knows she already made a mistake - and she's rubbing her nose in it. I guess to such a moron, she thinks people forget things simply to cause her problems every day.

Oh yeah, I can see every person in that room sat down that morning and said to themselves... "how can I make the lab receptionist's day really bad." That's all I would be thinking about when I went to get blood drawn.

It would seem, that although you can call a central location to make appointments… the women who work in the lab have NO VISIBILITY as to who is scheduled to come that day in addition to the normal Walk-ins. They don’t get an appointment list. So there was no way of knowing.


I called, was put on hold for 15 minutes, where the girl informed me that confirmation numbers were the responsibility of the patient and once they were given, they were not recorded in the system.

The woman on the phone told me she could in fact confirm that I did have an appointment, but that was it, so I handed my cell to the hostile woman at the front desk, who spoke to her, realizing I was not up there lying.

This is the fault of whoever developed such a stupid system. And yes, the system itself is at fault here.

First you have a number given out that cannot be confirmed by ANYONE that it actually exists! That in itself is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. If they have no way of knowing what the number is supposed to be - how in the world can they use it? What is to prevent someone who knows the system from creating their own number and using it without making an appointment?

Second, you can not... let me repeat this CAN NOT make it the responsibilty of the patient to keep track of a number given to them over the phone. Why were there "100 stupid people" already that day? Because they built this into the system. The system itself is flawed. Even the best people forget things, don't bring paperwork, lose numbers they should have kept, transpose numbers or mis-hear numbers read to them over the phone.

The fact that their system does NOT keep track (which is an easy thing to do), is the stupid thing. The person who built the system never ever tested it with real live people. There is no possible way you won't have a rate of between 25-50% (if not more) of the patients forgetting to bring their confirmation number with them, losing the number before the appointment, having the wrong number... The fact that anyone running a lab thought this system would work, just shows how out of touch they are with reality!

Last of all, some people cited "confidentiality" claims when commiserating with Bou over this fiasco. This is not a confidentiality issue, it is an extremely flawed appointment process. If they were worried about an imposter walking in and having the test done in Bou's place, that issue would be resolved with a picture ID plus questions, not with a confirmation number. Still, the only bit of confidentiality at this point of the process is the fact that she has the appointment. But it's not a secret from the people at the lab, they would have to have her information to make an appointment. Confidentiality comes in to play for real when the results are sent out. This mess is an appointment issue complete with insurmountable problems caused by the system itself.

All in all, if I were Bou, I'd be writing a scathing letter to the people who run that place. I would also ask the doctor if there was anywhere else I could have my lab work done, because I would not want to give one penny more of my money (or even insurance money) to fund such stupidity.

Posted by: Teresa in Idiocies at 06:11 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 861 words, total size 5 kb.

1 I'm with you, but then again, I'm all about the scathing letters. . .

Posted by: oddybobo at September 21, 2006 08:19 AM (mZfwW)

2 I think Bou can take several of your paragraphs (with permission) and have the makings of a *very* scathing letter!

I so want you to go with me the next time I have to go to the doctor....

Posted by: Richmond at September 21, 2006 11:51 AM (e8QFP)

3 Brings to mind the old saying, "To err is human but to really screw things up you need a beaureaucrat."

Posted by: MGA at September 22, 2006 05:09 AM (YcUKP)

4 The doc should establish an account with LabCorp, draw the bloods and have LabCorp pick them up and send in the results. Simple.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at September 22, 2006 04:05 PM (ANg2D)

5 Re: confidentiality? Ha. If that's their excuse, what about the risk of people having a confirmation number at all? Someone could find it! Plus they have no way of knowing whether someone's number was really their own. I think the word I'm looking for here is 'lazy.'

And Quest has a pretty dismal history in my own professional and personal experience.

Posted by: liv at September 22, 2006 07:44 PM (iWDVk)

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