Phones 101: I spend a good portion of my day on the phone.  Work even provided one of those units which hooks on the ear.  I have run it out of battery power.  Related to and a subset of this class is: insurance companies – negotiation – how to maintain your sanity while conversing with a computer disguised as a human.  At the desk from which I presently work, the former occupant left a comic: there is a man on a psychiatrist bed and the psychiatrist sitting in a chair – caption reads, “of course I understand insanity.  I work with insurance companies every day.”  That is so true.  I received a fax from one at a different office.  The fax read that a certain patient, let’s call him John Smith, did not need a prior authorization, and we could submit the prescription for a particular medication directly.  It looked like good news.  I tried looking up John Smith and there was a phone book of them in the computer.  I looked back at the fax.  There was an insurance ID.  OK.  Not a problem.  I tried to search by the insurance ID and found nothing.  Being January, the patient may have a new insurance not in the system yet.  Well, as a last ditch effort, I called the company on the number given on the fax.

IC: Please listen to the following message as the options have changed…

I eventually was able to speak to a voice backed up by a pulse, not a transformer.

NIB: Hello, this is nurseinbox and I received a fax from your company on John Smith.

IC: What is the patient’s birth date.

NIB: That is the reason I am calling.  You didn’t send me the birth date, and I need to know which John Smith this is.

IC: You need to give us three pieces of information before I can provide you any information on this patient.

NIB: I am calling because of your fax, providing the information you gave me.  I do have an insurance ID which I need to match with the correct patient.

IC: We are not allowed to give out any information using the ID.  Why don’t you call the number on the fax received and ask for assistance

(blink, blink)

NIB: That’s what I did, and how I am talking with you.

IC: I’m sorry I can’t help you.  I could transfer you to the accounts representative and see if they could assist.

NIB: You can send a note to your manager that when faxing a doctor’s office, it would be nice to provide correct identifying information so that we could know the patient of which you refer.

IC: I will send the note.

(plunk, grrrr)

Actually, this is an extremely brief account of the interaction which drug on in that fashion for about 3 minutes before I got to the GRRRR.  They don’t tell you in nursing school how long a 3 minute conversation feels.