Friday, December 01, 2006

The Doctor's Office: Being Late Means You're Early

tidbits that tantalize


They Call Your Name.

It's 10:15 and you... 10:15! Late for your doctor's appointment, you put it into high gear, pull into the express lane and crash! You run headlong into someone else vying for the same quick fix to poor time management. Fortunately, cooler heads prevail and, long before shouts of "Hey, where'd you learn how to drive" populate the already charged atmosphere, you both pull your carts to the side of the aisle and take a deep breath. After all, the A & P is no place to make enemies. You're likely to bump into, er, see each other again on Thursday when the produce goes on sale.

But, what about the doctor's appointment? Ah, yes...

Neurologists attending a conference in Austin, Texas recently completed a survey detailing the behaviors they found to be most bothersome in patients. The fourth most bothersome behavior listed was patients being Late for Appointments. It appears springtime came early to the "Winter Conference," as irony was certainly in full bloom.

"It's a problem," said Dr. David Proctor, "and, we've already established a committee to find ways to enhance the waiting room experience." A practicing neurologist for the past twenty-seven years, Proctor has witnessed many changes in attitudes toward patients. "The medical profession used to think of patients simply as a means of getting from here to the golf course. That's all changed. We now realize we must provide a more comprehensive patient experience, one that optimizes each needless hour of waiting. We're considering brighter colors, more discarded magazines and chairs with fresh duct tape as a first response."

Asked about advances in office efficiencies that may reduce patient waiting time, Dr. Proctor stated, "Have a seat. I'll be with you shortly."

With apologies to dedicated neurologists, you may view the full report at Medscape.


Anonymous SuzanneLieur said...

Hey, Tim,

I have an idea for doctors.

Try NOT overscheduling patients.

Doctors schedule patients for 15 minute appts, and then they schedule more than more patient per each 15 minutes.

Next time you're in a crowded waiting room at the doctor's office, look around and ask a few other other people waiting what time their appointment is for, and with which doctor.

Chances are, you'll find at least 2 other people who have the SAME appointment time with the SAME doctor as you do.

Is it any wonder then that patients can spend hours in the waiting room?

Can't there be a better system for everyone?

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only scheduling one patient per slot would be nice, but then how do you handle the patients who don't show up for their appointment and don't have the courtesy to call and cancel? The insurance won't pay anything, and most people would be unwilling to reimburse the office and staff for the wasted time spent during those 15 minutes. Most doctors have had to do like the airlines and overbook; often it works out ok, but sometimes things get backed up.

12:31 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home