I'm a Patient Woman. However...

Palo Alto Medical Foundation is where I currently go for my medical care. Since the CML diagnosis I have had to work with the situation as best I can. I have lots of experience being a patient. More than most, I would say. So, I believe I have developed a tolerant attitude. 

There are many challenges I have been facing that I find discouraging, confusing and annoying, which I hope to resolve, or just live with. However... sometimes it's the little things that become untenable!

This is the message I sent to the complaint department:

Today I called PAMF in Santa Cruz to report that I had been in the emergency room last night and wanted to know what to do now. It took twenty minutes before anyone answered the phone. 

Two weeks ago I was on hold for 45 minutes before someone answered the phone. 



I have been politely told that people cannot answer the phone because of a computer upgrade. 


If it is true that having a computer upgrade prevents phone service from working correctly, PAMF has a problem. 


Not just with the phone, you see. But with the whole patient experience. Do you understand? I know two other PAMF patients who are just as fed up as I am. Oh, I know I can send a message to my doctor through My Health Online. But, there is no guarantee the doctor will read it in a timely manner or at all. One of my doctors said he never checks messages. This is not a useful system if the doctor who is the most important in my medical care team does not get the message. 

Still, I sent messages to my primary care and my oncologist. I will wait and see how long it takes to get a reply. But, I don't have a lot of faith in the system. Maybe they will have problems getting online because PAMF is upgrading the computer system! I would prefer to not go doctor shopping while in the middle of my current medical situation... cancer. 

I specifically would like to know exactly how many months this "computer upgrade" will continue to affect the quality of my care, so I can make other arrangements if I find the answer unsatisfactory. At least give me that. 

Thank you for reading my complaint. I look forward to a response by letter soon.

Just for fun, here's a picture of my son on the phone a few years ago, with a much better experience than I am having with the phone today.


  1. Anonymous12/20/2011

    I had problems a few years ago getting my dr's office to call me back for x-ray results on my hip and ankle and for refills on meds...really irritating...and I am not patient when it comes to doctors, which probably has something to do with past experiences.

    Hope someone gets back to you soon!

  2. Because I contacted them, a woman called me back a very short time later, let me vent, listened well, explained in detail the issues with the "computer upgrade" which I now understand more fully. Though, I still don't like it, I can see why it happens. Long story about all that. Medical staff who don't deal with their emails, however are being reminded to do so, especially under the circumstances of phones not being answered in a timely manner. Interestingly, one hour after speaking with this woman I got an email back from the Nurse Practitioner with doctor's instructions to come in to see him.

  3. Anonymous12/20/2011

    Glad someone called you back, hope you start feeling better soon! Funny how people contact you when you raise a little hell!


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