Why Won't My Doctor Talk To Me?
Ask Dr. Louise |
Last week I was in the
produce section of my local Fred Meyer's store picking out some naval
oranges when I noticed one of my neighbors stopped in the aisle just
opposite me. Crossing the black and white square tiles that separated
us, she leaned over my almost empty grocery cart, shaking her head
"Louise, doctors just don't seem to want to talk their
patients any more." "Really?" I asked, turning around to face her, an
orange in each hand. Placing them in my cart, I continued, "What makes
you think that?"
"Well," she explained, "It all started when I
saw that one of my heart medicines was almost out. According to the
bottle, there weren't any refills. So I decided to call my doctor this
before I ran out. You know that music they have you listen to when
you're waiting? There was a message that said if I was calling in to
request a refill to please hang up and call my pharmacy instead. But
without any refills on my prescription, what can my pharmacy do? They
can't fill it , either. Why won't my doctor talk to me?"
does seem like doctors are telling their patients, "Don't ask ME for
your medication refills. Call your pharmacy instead."
"Actually," I responded, "although it could seem rude, there are good
reasons for your doctor's office to ask you contact your pharmacy first
for any refills of your medicines.
One reason is the need to be
available to see all the patients who have come to the clinic for their
scheduled appointments. Sitting in the waiting room for an hour because
your doctor is running late from addressing phone messages is no
fun--not for you, your doctor, or the nursing staff.
your doctor is requesting to hear from your pharmacy is that many people
(maybe even you) go to more than one doctor or medical provider. You
might have a family doctor that you see for everything else but prefer
having your gynecologist do your female exams. A woman might be referred
to a urologist by her regular doctor for bladder control issues. As a
pharmacist, I often see medications coming from 2 or 3 completely
different doctors on the list of prescriptions we fill for our
"In our world of faxes, email and electronic medical
records, you'd think that your doctor would be in the loop about what
other doctors are doing for you. That sure would be great way to avoid a
lot of confusion! That happens sometimes, but more often if you see
another doctor your other doctors don't get told about it.
important reason your doctor wants you to contact your pharmacy for
refills is so they can see what drugs you are asking for, who is
prescribing them to you, and when they were refilled last. They use that
to update your medication list and to decide whether to refill it right
then or ask the pharmacy to send the request to the other medical
"Please don't take it personally that your doctor's office
doesn't want to talk to you about your refill. Doing it this way helps keep you
You can do something right now to help yourself stay safe when taking your medicines by making a list of all the
medications you currently take and bringing a copy of it with you to
every doctor's appointment. On your list include each medicine you take,
the strength, how often you take it, what you take it for, and the
medical provider who prescribes it.
If you do not have a record of all
your prescription medicines, you can download one for free at www.askdrlouise.com/products .
Dr. Louise Achey
Dr. Louise's Medication List and Pill Box Worksheet can help you sort your medications and help you take them safely. You can get your FREE copy right here.
© 2012 Louise Achey Helping You Take Your Medicine Safely™
Copyright © 2011 Louise Achey Enterprises LLC and Louise Achey