Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Multitasking (and why migraine patients wait)

From Scalpel or Sword (a great blog)

At any given moment during the typical shift in the ER, here is what is happening:

There are 10-20 patients in the waiting room. Some have been waiting 6 hours. A couple of them have ankle sprains and were already X-rayed, and their X-rays were already read by the Radiologist as "no bony abnormality, soft tissue swelling." They would like to leave without being seen. We don't argue too much.

I'm waiting on a callback from a specialist, and I have two more calls to make after that one. If I paged them all at once, they would all call back at the same time, then two of them would hang up before I was finished talking with the first one. They would be understandably angry when they were repaged, and they would take an hour to call back the second time. So I page them one at a time. As soon as I introduce myself to the next patient I see, the first one will call back...



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