I hate making phone calls. Part of the reason for this is the automated answering systems you encounter. Even when the numbered options do correspond to what you want,  success is not guaranteed.

Our local hospitals have been taken over by bigger (by bigger, I mean less patient -friendly) hospitals. To make an appointment with a specialist you call central scheduling. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

It isn’t.  After waiting on hold, listening to the same ‘music’ and commercials for ten minutes, a polite young person answers.  I tell them exactly who I need to see, what day I want to see them, and which office I prefer to visit for the appointment . More hold time – then I’m told “we can’t schedule that, I’ll transfer you.”

The phone rings through, and I reach an answering machine.  “Blah, blah, blah, if you want to make an appointment call xxx-xxx-xxxx (the number I originally called.)  I left a message, I am always polite on the phone, stating that I was transferred to this number by the appointment center, because they COULD NOT schedule the appointment I wanted.  Let me say, I do really like the doctor, otherwise I would just go somewhere else.

I was always taught that not promptly returning calls was poor business practice/customer service.  Apparently,  the giant Cleveland hospital doesn’t care about  good business practice/customer service. Maybe they don’t realize patients ARE customers.

After no call back in 48 hours, I went through the process again.  48 hours! This time my voice sounded tearful. (It is on occasions like this that I appreciate the fact that I cry when I am angry!)

Today, I did get a call back – three hours later.  I was scolded for contacting the doctor’s office directly. They suggested that I might want to schedule future appointments when I was in the office in person,  to avoid the central scheduling issue. I would suggest that they could let central scheduling actually schedule their appointments, or just answer their phone when it rings!

Ironically, the appointment is for a cortisone shot in my hip – yup, a literal pain in the butt.


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