Just another day at the Office


I work in a large hospital’s outpatient lab, so I experience this conversation every single day, and more than once. 

Me: Good morning, can I have your last name, please?

Patient: It’s already in the system. 

Me: Yes, that may be true, but I need your name to find you in the system. 

It should be no surprise to anyone that patients just assume we know exactly who they are, what is being done, and every bit of their medical history. We only know all of that stuff after we view their account. 

Me: Can you tell me what doctor it was that ordered the lab work?

Patient: Nope, I was just told to come get it. 

Me: Who told you to come?

Patient: *shrugging* The doctor’s office.”

Me: Okay, what doctor’s office?

Patient: *still shrugging* I don’t know. 

It’s important to note that a patient could have multiple orders in the system at any one time, so we don’t always know which one the patient is there for at the time. That means it’s fairly important that they do know. 

Me: Do you have any idea what it is the doctor wants you to have done? 

Patient: Bloodwork.

Me: Do you know why they ordered it?

Patient: No! I was just told to come down here and get blood taken. 

Me: If you don’t know why you’re here, then how am I supposed to know? 


Patient: … *stomps off*