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Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Dr. Visits

These are my visits to 3 separate offices in 3 different cities over the last couple months. And people complain about their pharmacies...

Office opens at 8am.
My appt. time is 8:50 (please arrive 15 minutes early-checked in at 8:35)
Office specialist calls me up at 8:45 to get my ID, insurance, and signature to allow treatment.
Nurse takes me back at 8:55.
Nurse leaves office at 9:17 and says doctor will be right with you.
Doctor walks in at 9:48 and we chat. He leaves at 9:57.
Checkout lady takes me around to schedule follow up testing and I leave the office at 10:24.

Second Office scenario: Appt. time is 8:30 (please arrive at 8am for paperwork, ID, background check, whatever). No one else in the waiting room.
Nurse takes me back at 8:31, checks vitals, says doctor will be in "as soon as he arrives" and offers me coffee.
Doctor arrives at 9:21 and we chat. He shows me to the front desk (9:30) where I wait for my prescriptions, a review of our discussion, and further instructions from the nurse. Leave office at 9:36.

Third Office visited: Packed waiting room for appt. time of 10:30 (arrive early as is customary).
Taken back to room at 10:32. Hear doctors talking about their Fantasy Football Results/Upcoming Games. Doctor enters the room at 11:21. We leave office at 11:29. He shows me to checkout and leaves. I have blood drawn and receive prescription orders. Walk out of office at 11:39.

Whatever. The obvious point is this: They have all these different stations and my entire 9 minute appointment actually took 109 minutes (8:35 to 10:24), then 96 minutes, then 75 minutes. For what? No one in the waiting area complained. No one huffed. No one threatened to go across the street. Everyone could see other people waiting. Everyone just accepted they were busy. How is this acceptable?
Is it because most of the wait time was spent in the actual room, closed off from the rest of society?
Yes, the billing is done at the beginning.
Yes, my copay is collected at the beginning.
Yes, the nurse checks the BP and vitals and says wait for the doctor.
Yes, the doctor is averaging 9 minutes per visit in each of these offices. That's ~6 people per hour he can visit and 50 people per day, allowing for a light lunch.
Why do we wait so long?
In pharmacy, people can watch as we ready their prescriptions. "Ooh. Ooh. I see mine! There it is. I see it!"


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  3. So you missed the documentation/arguing with insurance/PAs/lab review//radiology review/diabetic shoe forms/handicapped parking forms/FMLA forms/random weird phone calls/reviewing notes from other doctors/requests for DME equipment that the patients don't need or sometimes on patients you have not seen ever/etc. So it's nowhere near 50 patients a day at that pace unless the day runs from 5am-10pm.
    And then of course patients do complain about the wait at the doctor's office all the time. You just didn't happen to see it.
    Just like I've never actually seen a patient complain about waiting at the pharmacy.