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Old 06-21-2019, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
14,684 posts, read 8,468,648 times
Reputation: 29356

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How about that wait? For the doctor, that is. I work in ophthalmology/optometry. Patients in all specialties often have to wait and it is a major cause of anger and frustration. How do you approach it? How long is it reasonable for a patient to wait on the doctor? Many of us have policies on patients being late, but we have no policies addressing the opposite. It's unfair, right?

Yesterday I walked out of my dentist's office. I waited 20 minutes past my appointment time in the waiting room, they did my X-rays, then left me 40 minutes more alone in the chair with no explanation at all. I walked out with no explanation at all. Do you offer them a snack? Entertainment in the waiting room? An apology? Rescheduling? How do we serve our patients for being patient so they come back, despite a delay? For those of you who are patients and don't work in healthcare, how long is a reasonable wait time before you see the doctor? What would you appreciate from us if there is an inevitable delay? How can we better serve you?
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Dallas TX
15,022 posts, read 21,719,486 times
Reputation: 22165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby Snacks View Post
How about that wait? For the doctor, that is. I work in ophthalmology/optometry. Patients in all specialties often have to wait and it is a major cause of anger and frustration. How do you approach it? How long is it reasonable for a patient to wait on the doctor? Many of us have policies on patients being late, but we have no policies addressing the opposite. It's unfair, right?

Yesterday I walked out of my dentist's office. I waited 20 minutes past my appointment time in the waiting room, they did my X-rays, then left me 40 minutes more alone in the chair with no explanation at all. I walked out with no explanation at all. Do you offer them a snack? Entertainment in the waiting room? An apology? Rescheduling? How do we serve our patients for being patient so they come back, despite a delay? For those of you who are patients and don't work in healthcare, how long is a reasonable wait time before you see the doctor? What would you appreciate from us if there is an inevitable delay? How can we better serve you?
I walked out of my dentist's office also for the same reason. For me, as long as the staff is communicative at what is going on I am fine. There are a few offices that are proactive and will call to say the doctor is running about thirty minutes behind if you would like to come later.
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:13 AM
Status: "could've~would've~should've used 'have', not 'of'" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
10,451 posts, read 14,299,056 times
Reputation: 23167
I've been that 'sudden emergency, can you squeeze me in today' patient, so I get that things happen and it pays to have some patience. But it's a lot easier to deal with, as one who sometimes also has to wait, if there is some communication, especially an estimate as to how long my wait might be extended. Oh, and some up to date magazines in the waiting area and patient rooms would be good too.
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:31 AM
 
991 posts, read 345,408 times
Reputation: 3127
One time, I had a specialist keep me waiting for two full hours beyond my scheduled appointment time. They kept rotating me around the office. First, I was called back to be weighed in. Back to waiting room. Next, it was blood work. Back to waiting room. Finally, I was called back to exam room where I waited 45 minutes for her to appear. I was annoyed when she came into the room and I let her know it.

She responded "We have emergencies sometimes and you should be more considerate when we have to see those patients first." I said "No. You are rude and inconsiderate. You were aware of the backlog and dismissed the value of my time. The simple courtesy of an update would have been sufficient and would have allowed me the choice of staying or rescheduling the appointment." On my way out, I said "I am not paying for this appointment nor will I be back."

The doctor falsified my medical records. She claimed she did a hands-on examination of me and wrote all kinds of lies. She used the information from the medical tests I brought to the office. I know this because I complained to the referring physician and she told me she received the record of the appointment and it detailed information from the examination.

I do not mind waiting up to 30 minutes. After that, I am out of there. I only waited for the specialist because it was hard to get an appointment with her. She double billed me for an appointment we did not have. I called her billing department several times trying to resolve it. They threatened to send me to collections. In response, I sent her office a nice little letter outlining her criminal behavior. I never heard from her office again.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
14,684 posts, read 8,468,648 times
Reputation: 29356
Quote:
Originally Posted by veuvegirl View Post
I walked out of my dentist's office also for the same reason. For me, as long as the staff is communicative at what is going on I am fine. There are a few offices that are proactive and will call to say the doctor is running about thirty minutes behind if you would like to come later.
Absolutely. Communication is key. Just telling the patient, "Mr/Ms. X, unfortunately we are running about XX minutes behind. Would you rather wait for the doctor or reschedule?" gives them back the power and is often enough to soothe any feelings of anger or resentment they may have. But saying nothing and leaving them in the dark does nothing but make them angrier. I do believe that doctor's offices use the "We had an emergency come up" excuse too often. Many times doctors insist on double booking or booking appointments too close together than they can reasonably handle. And some doctors don't even come into the office on time which means they start the day out behind. Unfortunately that is not the staff's fault, but the doctors. So for those patients who take their ire out on the staff, please keep in mind that we normally have zero control over scheduling or emergencies. The doctor makes all these decisions for us.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Texas
43,534 posts, read 52,616,956 times
Reputation: 70761
Bc I work in health care and realize that people are not widgets and crazy crap happens all the time, I am a patient waiter.

Same at the tire store or airport.

I do think people respond better if you UPDATE THEM on the situation. Otherwise they feel disrespected and lose perspective.

We had some construction to rebuild and expand our emergency department a few years ago. At one point during the work, we had to shut down the ambulance bay for some of the construction.
So the patients coming in by ambulance actually had to come in through the front door and roll back through the waiting room.
It's amazing how during those 3 weeks, people complained a whole lot less about having to wait because they had seen what was rolling in through the ambulance doors. Hard to whine about your 2 hour wait for toe pain when you saw active cpr being rolled right in front of you. Or a guy with a window pane sticking out of his abdomen.

No one WANTS to make you wait. We hate it, too. It means things are not going according to plan or the S is hitting the fan. Plus then we know we have to deal with your irate attitude when we do finally see you.

So when I go to the doctor or to the airport or a variety of places, I am usually pretty chill.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
14,684 posts, read 8,468,648 times
Reputation: 29356
Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
Bc I work in health care and realize that people are not widgets and crazy crap happens all the time, I am a patient waiter.

Same at the tire store or airport.

I do think people respond better if you UPDATE THEM on the situation. Otherwise they feel disrespected and lose perspective.

We had some construction to rebuild and expand our emergency department a few years ago. At one point during the work, we had to shut down the ambulance bay for some of the construction.
So the patients coming in by ambulance actually had to come in through the front door and roll back through the waiting room.
It's amazing how during those 3 weeks, people complained a whole lot less about having to wait because they had seen what was rolling in through the ambulance doors. Hard to whine about your 2 hour wait for toe pain when you saw active cpr being rolled right in front of you. Or a guy with a window pane sticking out of his abdomen.

No one WANTS to make you wait. We hate it, too. It means things are not going according to plan or the S is hitting the fan. Plus then we know we have to deal with your irate attitude when we do finally see you.

So when I go to the doctor or to the airport or a variety of places, I am usually pretty chill.
"Patient waiter." Lol. I never thought of it that way.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:57 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,749 posts, read 54,373,866 times
Reputation: 31030
I had a recent experience that was a major frustration, but I didn't blame the doctor for it. Things happen. My appointment was at 3:30pm, so I left work early and drove the 20+ miles back toward home to the hospital where my doctor has his office. I checked in and sat by the entrance to wait for the nurse to call me in. Instead, she came out to inform me that I would have to reschedule, the doctor had been called in to do an emergency surgery. Rescheduling my appointment and wasting time is not a big deal, when someone needed him more than I did.



My dentist is actually pretty good, I have never waited more than 5 minutes beyond the appointment time but once in 25 years. In that case, it was nearly an hour, because some kid fell while skateboarding and smashed his teeth, so it was an emergency.
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:45 AM
 
20,521 posts, read 16,599,446 times
Reputation: 38519
It depends on the reason. If there's an emergency, that's fine, but tell me. I once waited in a GYN's office for 2 hours, and when I went up to ask what was going on, they told me she had an emergency and was at the hospital seeing a patient. Thanks for letting me know! I could've gone 2 stores down and gotten something to eat, done an errand, etc.


If it's because they vastly overbook, I find it more annoying. My GP routinely did this, it seemed like multiple people would all have the same appointment time. That's annoying because that's them saying it's more important they still make money between 11 and 12 even if someone doesn't show than it is to respect my time. I still stayed there for 15 years though.


My spine surgeon's office wait was also long, at least 45 minutes. That one upset me because I was in agonizing pain unless I was laying on my right side, and to be forced to sit in a chair that long was excrutiating. Everyone in that waiting room had spine problems, yet everyone had to wait. I also felt given every patient was there with a spine problem they could have at least bought ergonomic and comfortable chairs (I know he could afford it!)
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:00 AM
 
2,048 posts, read 2,293,408 times
Reputation: 2182
Communication. I don't mind waiting 15 minutes or so past an appt., but after that, I expect to hear from the front office staff. Patients want to ask a lot of questions- tight scheduling is what makes problems 99% of the time.
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