System Fail

Today my wife and I took Wolfe to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. (Don’t worry, he’s fine–the details will have to wait for another post.) What isn’t fine, though, is the check-in process at the doctor’s office.

When we arrived, the receptionist told us to sign in on the sign-in sheet and have a seat to wait. We did. And we waited. There was a sign that the doc was 30 minutes behind, but after 20 minutes and seeing several other people check in and be asked to fill out paperwork, I went up to the desk and asked if we should be filling out paperwork. They seemed very surprised (although we’d been sitting directly in front of the desk) and asked if we’d signed in. We had, but our name had been Sharpied over, which evidently erases all record of your existence. We got the paperwork and were called back momentarily.

This wasn’t some rinky dink rural hospital, either. It’s a large and well-respected one. It doesn’t seem to matter, though, as the same system is used at my wife’s ob-gyn practice, which is much smaller–and at one of our prenatal exams, the exact same issue occurred.

With all the technology available, isn’t there some way to verify patients are actually checked in when they show up? I think the doctors should, at the least, implement mandatory Sharpie training for all receptionists. Those over zealous crosser-outers make me cranky.


  1. Karen B · · Reply

    My boys’ orthodontist has a self serve online check-in process when we walk in. They also provide free wireless and online review of bills, etc. They are so state of the art i can’t stand it. However, a colleague of mine from boston area, can see her blood test results online and in real time. The iron count was in before the cholesterol. I was so envious I wanted to cry…

    1. Now THAT sounds like a system.

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