What to Expect

What should I expect with my initial visit?

Rheumatologists are often asked to see patients for complaints relating to joint or muscle pain.  However, there are other reasons that a rheumatologist might be consulted, including evaluation of a positive antinuclear antibody (ANA), elevated inflammatory marker (erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein) and elevated muscle enzyme such as creatine kinase (CPK).

Like other disciplines in internal medicine, rheumatologists depend heavily upon the history and physical exam to aid with diagnosis and treatment.  With this in mind, your doctor will likely ask you a fairly detailed history about your problem and past medical history and perform a detailed initial physical exam.  You may be asked to undress down to your undergarments.  However, it is uncommon for your more intimate areas to be examined such as the genitalia, breasts and rectum.  Please be assured that we try to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during the history and examination.  Not uncommonly, small details picked up on your physical exam such as a finding on the fingernail or nail bed may provide the final piece to the puzzle allowing accurate diagnosis.

Please dress in a manner that will allow comprehensive musculoskeletal examination.  Garments such as shorts/pants that are easily pulled up to the hip and short sleeve shirts that are loose fitting are often helpful in allowing your physician to examine all areas necessary.  If your garments are too tight or bulky, you may be asked to change into a medical examination gown.

Please arrive on time for your scheduled appointment. If you need to cancel an appointment, please call 48 hours before your appointment time. Cancellations should be made no later than 24 hours prior to your appointment.

If you are over 15 minutes late for your appointment you might be asked to reschedule.

When you arrive, please sign in at the reception desk.

As rheumatologists, we are subspecialists in internal medicine.  We support, not replace, the role of your primary care doctor.  We will focus on your rheumatologic issues.

Each patient has the responsibility to provide, to the best of their knowledge, accurate and complete information about their health.

Patient Expectations

New patients will review test results from the initial consultation visit at the first follow up visit (all Dr. Boatright patients) or will be contacted by telephone or letter regarding results.  If a test is significantly abnormal and action must be taken quickly, new patients will be contacted before the first follow-up visit.

For established patients, test results should be reported to you within 2 weeks of the date the test was obtained.  Although we strive to ensure timely reporting of test results, errors (from a variety of factors) may occur in reporting.  If you have not received your test results as described above, please assist us by contacting the office to request these results.

Rarely, your doctor may order a test that is not covered by your insurance.  If your doctor orders such a test, it is still his/her recommendation that you obtain the test.  Lack of insurance payment/authorization is not to be perceived as obtaining an “unnecessary” test.

The patient should report unexpected changes in conditions to the physician. Each patient is responsible for communicating whether he/she clearly understands the diagnostic impressions and treatment plan offered by the physician.

The patient is responsible for following the treatment plan recommended by the physician. This may include instructions from the physician’s staff.

When established patients call the office, they will likely be forwarded to the voicemail of the physician’s assistant.  The assistant checks the voicemail frequently during office hours and is expected to return your call within 24 hours.  If this does not occur, please contact the business office manager at 901-309-5033.  If you have an emergency do not call the office, but rather go to the closest emergency room.

When you call the medical assistant for a refill on your prescription, please be sure to leave your name, date of birth, name of pharmacy/pharmacy telephone number and drug requested on the voicemail.  We strive to call in prescription medications the day that each patient calls so please contact your pharmacy by the end of the business day to determine if the prescription has been submitted.  All prescription refills should be submitted by our office no later than 24 hours after the initial patient call.  Mail-order refills require extra time.  Please provide us with 10 business days to process these prescriptions.

In order to maintain patient continuity of care, once a patient establishes care with one of our physicians, we request that patients not change to a different physician within the group.

Finally, please help us help you by letting us know of any concerns or comments you may have about your experiences here.  The office manager is available by request.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.