Monday, May 30, 2011

Adventures in administration

Where I work in the hospital, we get a lot of "requests for Staff Affiliation" - other hospitals want to know whether the doctor has worked for us, how he did, and stuff like that. But I'm starting to wonder whether anybody ever actually reads the forms that they send out asking for information.

It's not even subtle stuff - it's the kind of thing that they should have picked up on just on a simple readthrough.

A request to know his "staff status" is followed by "if resigned, former staff status." And that's fine. They want to know basically how much the doctor worked in the hospital, and in what capacity: they're looking for words like Active, Associate or Courtesy, and they even understand that he might have resigned, and they're accounting for that.

But then they ask things like:
Has practitioner had their staff privileges terminated, voluntary or involuntary (sic). If yes, please explain on separate sheet.
OK, guys. If they've resigned, then their staff privileges have been terminated. Nonetheless, if I check "yes," that's a red flag and they're going to want more information, and I don't have time to keep dealing with every illiterate pinhead calling me back to explain the English language to them.

Somehow, I doubt that they were expecting to get their form back with "Duh - resigned" in the margin. But that's what they got.
Has practitioner performed enough case volume to fulfill staff requirements in the previous two years?
Well, since he resigned four years ago, probably not: an argument can be made that his current staff requirements, as a resigned physician, would be "none," but, just to be clear (and avoid that annoying phone call), I check "no" and draw an arrow up to "Duh - resigned."

They also want me to rate the doctor on various attributes: how well did they do, were there any major complications, were there any lawsuits?.

And I'm apparently supposed to read the minds of the rest of the hospital staff: was the practitioner respected by colleges, did they behave in a moral manner, did they ever operate under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

Unless there were complaints I can document, they usually get a pass on those: this isn't one of those places where I try to get away with "well, that depends on your definition of 'respected' (or 'moral'), doesn't it?"

Another problem is rating scales. We get peer references on the doctors every time they get or renew their privileges at the hospital, where they rate each other on those various attributes. Our form uses a 4-point scale, with 4 being "Godlike" and 1 being "Completely shit." And I'm supposed to take those ratings, and figure out how to put them on a 3-point scale (good/acceptable/poor), or a 5-point scale?

But that's just quibbling. How am I supposed to answer the question "Is practitioner respected by staff and colleagues? (Yes/no) If yes, explain on separate sheet." I have no idea if they appreciated me circling "yes" and writing underneath "please reread your question." I hope they didn't.

Or the following actual grid from a form.

How do they want me to answer that last question? My response was to leave it blank, and write under comments "There have been no complaints, but I don't think 'exemplary' really explains that."

But that's just me, expecting too much from people.


On a completely unrelated note: earlier today, Spellcheck failed to pick up the word "singed" (I’d meant to typed "signed" but sometimes my right hand goes faster than my left – such is life). I stared at it for a minute, and actually tried to figure out at what point the word "singed" might be the right word to use. "Sang", "sung" and the like, yes.

It actually took me about a minute of staring at it before I realized that Spellcheck thought the form I was sending in was slightly charred.

I’m not sure whether that makes Spellcheck an idiot, or me.

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