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Communication in health care should be better than it is

A few days ago, just after dawn, while I was out walking the dog, our home phone rang and my wife answered it. She’s used to my pager, cell phone, and home phone ringing at all hours, and so she was not all that surprised when an unidentified voice said,”We’re looking for the methadone dose for patient John Q. Smith.” She told him I was out of the house at the moment, but to hold until I return, which they patiently did. On my return, somewhat puzzled, I spoke to the person on the other end, and they repeated this request: “What is his dose of methadone?” I told him that I didn’t know who this patient was, and I certainly didn’t know his met...

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