Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doctor will see...never mind...

Melinda Beck, WSJ, Oct 19, 2010, writes about waiting for the doctor. Again. We always wait and wait… Then Eureka—the doctor ALWAYS had an emergency! And wouldn’t we want this much time to be taken for us?

Actually no. Give me my 15 minutes. Then send me on my way to stay away as long as I can.

OK, let’s see what Melinda has to say this time.

Average wait time—22 minutes. That is the average time before my sister and I say, “How long will we wait before leaving?”

Some waits stretch for hours. Oh, yes—I had an eye surgeon who always had 3-4 hour wait! We told him to put in a bar.

Orthopedists have the longest waits. Note to self: Put off getting the knee looked at.

Dermatologists—the shortest. Yeah,icky skin stuff probably doesn’t liven up the waiting room.

The docs, of course, don’t like to be clocked, they are not getting paid enough, you know the chant. They suggest changing the term “waiting room” to “reception area.”

Some docs are trying open access scheduling—70% of the slots are same-day. None of this overbooking stuff.

The key here is that people with pain or an immediate concern—those patients will show up and glad to do so! Makes sense.

Docs could also minimize office visits—filling in with email. But they need to get paid for that time.

Keeping patients informed is also recommended. Let them reschedule (see, this sucks—get all dressed and primed again). Another idea, let the patient keep a log of when they came, when they got warehoused in the “little room,” etc. Didn’t they used to call this Occupational Therapy?

My mother’s doctor never keeps us waiting even a minute. Why is he the only one?

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