The Hunt, Step 2: Making the Call
So I took the plunge today and decided to start going through the list of recommendations I received for GPs in the Boston area. I began with my close friend’s recommendation. She absolutely loves her doctor in Wellesley and told me that the practice has great customer service and weekend hours–which is definitely an added perk. I don’t have anything super exciting to report, but my customer service experience was fantastic and I wanted to share it because of the effect it had on how I feel about going to a new doctor.
I called this morning on my way to work, which I was able to do because their office opens at 8:30 instead of mine. Already a plus that I don’t have to call from the office. I pressed “7″ as a “new patient looking for information” and expected another automated woman to pick up on the other end. After two rings, an extremely friendly receptionist at the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates office picked up. It turns out that the practice for the physician my friend had recommended is closed at this time, and–based on past experience–I expected an apology from the receptionist and assumed I’d be working my way down the list of doctors I had in my hand.
To my surprise and delight she instead filled me in on the other physicians who work in the office, and asked me what exactly was going on so she could point me in the right direction. She explained, “The only other female doctor is wonderful but has been in practice for 20 years, and she has availability this week–but, since you seem to just have an infection and also sound a bit younger, we have a younger male doctor who has been practicing here for 7 years and is great at diagnosing those types of ailments.” She proceeded to give me a list of available times for both doctors, working around my semi-hectic schedule and making sure I got in before the end of the week.
I made an appointment for tomorrow–though someone could see me today–and was quickly transferred to another helpful woman in the insurance department who put me in the system and gave me a health ID number within 5 minutes. I was impressed by one other, small thing this second woman did: I told her that I had left my insurance card in DC and was worried I would need to bring it in. She assured me I was in the system and would have no problem, but also proceeded to give me the number for Blue Cross Blue Shield and detailed instructions on getting a new card.
In under fifteen minutes I was in the system (along with my mother as my emergency contact) and I hung up the phone with a detailed idea of the office location and where to park. This experience was wonderful and I’m hopeful for tomorrow’s appointment. The little things–like this short phone call–really add up when it becomes time to evaluate the quality of the practice as a whole. I feel confident going in there tomorrow without using ZocDoc or HealthGrades because of the way I was treated on the phone. I’ll report back after my appointment.