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Thread: How long a wait is acceptable at a doctor's office?

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonak Hawkins View Post
    We wouldn't put up with an employee who is always 10 or 15 minutes late or a dinner companion who is always that late. Why do we put up with doctors who don't see us at the appointed time ? That's rude and selfish. On the other hand, if I'm 10 minutes late, either they want to reschedule or it's still another 10 or 15 minutes.
    Perhaps this was already mentioned. In my experience doctors, dentists, and such tend to get further behind as day progresses. I like to see my family physician the first thing in the morning when I almost never have to wait. Those who make appointments schedule them at specific times but if some go over it pushes everyone else back unless another appt goes under time. When I have to go later in the day I don't mind waiting if he is behind because when I do see him, I have his undivided attention - he will take as long as I need to talk and answer questions, unlike some doctors, I never feel like he is rushing, trying to hurry me out the door, check me off the list. Zounds, this makes me feel like he truly cares! I've been seeing this same doctor for nearly 40 years and he is always like this.

  2. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Yonak Hawkins View Post
    We wouldn't put up with an employee who is always 10 or 15 minutes late or a dinner companion who is always that late. Why do we put up with doctors who don't see us at the appointed time ? That's rude and selfish. On the other hand, if I'm 10 minutes late, either they want to reschedule or it's still another 10 or 15 minutes.
    That's kind of an apples and bananas comparison. An employer showing up late for work is totally different from a doctor getting behind schedule because he or she spends more time with the patients ahead of you. You can criticize them for poor management of the office time by overbooking patients but if they booked fewer appointments per day you would probably have to wait longer to get an appointment. Depending on your reason for seeing the doctor a longer wait to get an appointment of a few days may be worse than a longer wait of an hour or two in the waiting room.

  3. #48
    In my younger years, right after we moved to our present location we started going to a family doctor that was recommended by some friends. After 10 years of the four family members (2 young children, my wife and I, we came to the conclusion that the the Doctor was just not organized. Every appointment no matter the time of day resulted in at least an hour wait in the office. The final straw was that I needed a quick physical (weight, heart rate and blood pressure and a doctor signature) for a new life insurance policy. I called, explained what was needed and made an appointment. It was during the work week so I had to take time away form work. I arrived a little early and an hour passed. I asked when I would get to see the doctor, they said in a few minutes, I waited 15-20 minutes and asked again, and received an explanation that the doctor didn't want to rush any patient so it was difficult to judge how many people he could see in a day. The waiting room had at least a dozen people in front of me when I arrived and some were still waiting. I had no choice but to stay, a hour and a half after my second inquiry I finally saw the doctor and after he did the checks and signed, I asked why after more than 15 years experience why he overbooked so much that I had to wait 2-1/2 hours to see him. He blamed it on cancellations and needing to spend uncertain amounts of time with each patient. I told him that if he couldn't figure out his daily schedule better than that that he had major problems. I told him it would be the last time he saw me or any of may family and left. Our new doctor was jsut as busy, but wit times were 15-20 minutes at most.
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  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    That's kind of an apples and bananas comparison. An employer showing up late for work is totally different from a doctor getting behind schedule because he or she spends more time with the patients ahead of you.
    I tend to disagree, Doug. Why does my doctor believe his time is more valuable than mine ?

    Someone should write some software so his receptionist can send me a text if he's behind schedule and give me a good time when he will be available to see me. That way I could take off work at the right time and miss as little work as possible.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonak Hawkins View Post
    I tend to disagree, Doug. Why does my doctor believe his time is more valuable than mine ?

    Someone should write some software so his receptionist can send me a text if he's behind schedule and give me a good time when he will be available to see me. That way I could take off work at the right time and miss as little work as possible.
    Do doctors routinely give patients who have had to wait long times a note informing an employer the person didn't take extra time off to go shopping?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #51
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    As is said "Times are a'changin". Soon we'll go to the doctor's office and never see the same doctor. The family doctor is becoming a thing of the past. It doesn't fit the business model. Taking the time to really know a patient is not important anymore. To pay the bills doctor's offices are forced to pack as many patients as possible through the door. If you have a good family doctor just hope he or she doesn't reach retirement age while you are still living. In most cases you probably spend more time at line at Walmart, or the car wash than you do at the doctor's office and more often too.
    Jim

  7. #52
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    Yonak, why do you think a doctor believes his/her time is more valuable than yours? He is just a lot more in demand and has a lot more pressures on him/her to see more patients. It is not your doctors choice, it is the administration who runs the hospitals choice, and they are under the screws by insurance and trying to keep the lights on. If it was your doctor’s choice, I am quite sure he would love to see fewer patients and establish a relationship with each patient, and shoot the breeze for a few minutes each appointment. The choice is not up to the doctor.

    You sound like you have a lot of anger and resentment about this. Relax.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Do doctors routinely give patients who have had to wait long times a note informing an employer the person didn't take extra time off to go shopping?

    jtk
    This isn't really apropos, as far as I'm concerned. I have work to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    In most cases you probably spend more time at line at Walmart, or the car wash than you do at the doctor's office and more often too.
    Jim
    The difference here is, at the car wash and Wal-Mart, you go when you want. The doctor and you have an appointment at a specified time. He doesn't expect me to be late and I don't expect him to be late .. and, if he will be late, it would be nice if he were to let me know ahead of time so I can make plans. Why should doctors get a pass on good manners ?

    The last time I visited my primary doctor, I didn't even have a chance to sit down before he came to the door and told me to come on in .. and I was early. I was in and out of there in 10 minutes.

  9. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    Yonak, why do you think a doctor believes his/her time is more valuable than yours? He is just a lot more in demand and has a lot more pressures on him/her to see more patients. It is not your doctors choice, it is the administration who runs the hospitals choice, and they are under the screws by insurance and trying to keep the lights on. If it was your doctor’s choice, I am quite sure he would love to see fewer patients and establish a relationship with each patient, and shoot the breeze for a few minutes each appointment. The choice is not up to the doctor.

    You sound like you have a lot of anger and resentment about this. Relax.
    A doctor is selling time and they don't like any dead time. My wife worked as an office manager for several different practices. In each one, the doctors would get upset if they had dead time between patients because they weren't earning any money during that time. So the pressure was on the front office to overschedule in case they had a cancellation. The doctors like to have a backlog in the waiting room so that if they finished with a patient quickly they had another one ready to come in. Or if a patient cancelled, they had people waiting to fill that slot.

    There's a financial incentive for the practice to have you wait - it's a buffer to make sure the doctor doesn't have any non-paying time.

    So, yes, I think the doctor values his/her time over the time of the patient. Making people wait is all to the advantage of the doctor.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-03-2019 at 2:00 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  10. #55
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    My doctor is great. If my appointment is at 2:30 then it's 2:30. No wait, no drama. Often his nurse will do the usual stuff while he's finishing up from the last patent but that's fine. I think the only time I waited was for blood test results. With my dentist I have realized that right after lunch is the best time to go. They get backed up and take a short lunch to get back on track so they aren't staying too late. Probably first thing in the morning would work too. My wife's ex eye doctor was a train wreck. No organizational skills what so ever. People would get their eyes dilated and be waiting so long they had to have them dilated again.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    A doctor is selling time and they don't like any dead time. My wife worked as an office manager for several different practices. In each one, the doctors would get upset if they had dead time between patients because they weren't earning any money during that time. So the pressure was on the front office to overschedule in case they had a cancellation. The doctors like to have a backlog in the waiting room so that if they finished with a patient quickly they had another one ready to come in. Or if a patient cancelled, they had people waiting to fill that slot.

    There's a financial incentive for the practice to have you wait - it's a buffer to make sure the doctor doesn't have any non-paying time.

    So, yes, I think the doctor values his/her time over the time of the patient. Making people wait is all to the advantage of the doctor.

    Mike
    This sounds like a private practice model, in which yes, the doctor values their time a lot more because they are productivity based. Meaning the more patients they grind out the more they get paid - they call it “eat what you kill”. They also want to retain those patients or they “eat” less.

    I didn’t know how upset people got going to the doctor. Gone are the days of respecting doctors, arriving early, and waiting patiently. It’s a vicious cycle really.

  12. #57
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    Some doctors and their staff manage things well and are close to on time. Occasionally, they get way behind and it would be courteous to inform patients of the potential wait. Many doctors charge you if cancel within 24 hours.

    Other doctors just do not seem to care how long patients wait. This is like some people who are always late and make everyone wait for them.

  13. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    This sounds like a private practice model, in which yes, the doctor values their time a lot more because they are productivity based. Meaning the more patients they grind out the more they get paid - they call it “eat what you kill”. They also want to retain those patients or they “eat” less.

    I didn’t know how upset people got going to the doctor. Gone are the days of respecting doctors, arriving early, and waiting patiently. It’s a vicious cycle really.
    My comment was definitely about private or group practice. And as for respecting doctors, respect goes both ways.

    Mike

    [But if the doctor is an employee, the pressure to have no dead time just shifts. Instead of the doctor wishing to have no dead time, it's the corporation which wants no dead time. They're paying the doctor and want the maximum productivity. And productivity is enhanced if there's a buffer of waiting patients so that there's no dead time. If people didn't complain, I'm convinced most practices - whether corporate, group or sole - would have people waiting an hour or more so that they didn't have any time where the doctor was not seeing patients. The financial incentive is to have people wait.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-03-2019 at 10:47 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  14. #59
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    Making people wait is all to the advantage of the doctor.
    This can fall apart real fast. If everyone having an appointment with a particular doctor has to wait an hour, people will start coming in later. Either that or looking for a doctor who respects there patients time.

    My health care provider encourages patients to drop in regularly to have their blood pressure checked. Even without an appointment it seldom takes longer than 15 minutes to be in an examination room with a nurse checking my blood pressure.

    It is possible for a medical facility to run efficiently without long waits for primary care visits.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #60
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    This thread just points out that most have no idea what it's like to not have that same paycheck week after week.

    I bet no one took unpaid time off work to sit at the doctor.

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