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Hints From Heloise: Identifying patients

DEAR HELOISE: Since most doctors’ offices commonly use a patient’s DOB (date of birth) to clarify, have the doctor’s office use that when they leave a reminder MESSAGE: “This Dr. Smith calling to remind John 12/27/38 that he has an appointment ...”

In this way, it identifies patients more specifically while maintaining their privacy.

Larry in Cypress, Texas

DEAR LARRY: Thanks for offering your suggestion to a reader complaint about leaving doctor’s-appointment reminders at an assisted-living facility. The odds of having two people with the same first name and birthday are negligible.

My hint? The message could be “This is for Mr. John S.,” or use the full name. What’s wrong with that? Physicians’ offices who make these calls, please “call in” with your comments.

DEAR HELOISE: To remove the odor of onions or garlic from your hands, wash them with a dab of toothpaste.

Ellen in Pennsylvania

Send a money-saving hint to Heloise P.O. Box 795000 San Antonio, TX 78279-5000.