Friday, August 10, 2012

Why do we wait at the doctor's office?

On to a new topic this week, why do we wait at the doctor's office anyway? Back in the 80's I had a doctor who had a little sign on her office door which said 'no patient should wait more than 15 minutes' to remind herself to keep on time. I appreciated that. I hate to be kept waiting. I expect that if I am scheduled for an appointment or a dinner reservation or whatever they should be on time. Its not right to keep people waiting. You need to do what you promised. Its the same way I feel about anyone who keeps me waiting.

But the problem comes in when people don't behave as expected - they do things like order a second round of after dinner coffee or an emergency occurs at the doctor's office. That messes up schedules.

In the old days, the doctors didn't seem to care if they kept patients waiting while they drank their coffee. Now that way of thinking is gone and waits have shortened.

However the biggest culprit for delays for appointments are .... [insert drum roll] ... us, the patients. Why?
  1. We are late. Occasional lateness is acceptable for everyone. We all get flat tires, stuck in traffic, reluctant children, etc. But when a doctor's office is dealing with many people every day, I am sure they run into multiple late patients. Never mind the people in this world who are chronically late for everything. What is the right time to arrive at your doctor's office? About 10 minutes before you are scheduled. The time  you are scheduled is usually the time the doctor will actually see you. Before that you need to check in, have vitals taken by a nurse maybe. 
  2. Emergencies still happen. That is why  they are doctor's to deal with the emergencies and the patients end up being delayed. We have to accept this.
  3. At the end of an appointment when everything has been discussed, the patient add 'oh and my stomach has been hurting for months now' and the doctor has to start over refocusing on this new ailment. Note to patients all over - bring a list of questions and ask the doctor them all at the beginning.
Of all of these, I am least tolerant of is #1 - late patients. I have been known to give nasty looks to people who show up at 10am and say they are checking in for their 930 appointment.

So everyone get your act together and be on time if you don't want a nasty look.

1 comment:

AnneMarie said...

Drumroll....... Shout it..... I'm there!

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