Thanks to KevinMD.com for including my article this week. You can read it here
I can understand the reason behind this story, but truly as a patient and a person working in the medical field, I can see both sides. However the waiting is more on the patients side then the physicians. For most of my appointments, I have had to wait longer then 10 minutes (or more & up to 5 hours for one appointment) after my scheduled appointment time with the doctor. I as a patient will no longer wait past my scheduled time with out asking how long before I am seen. If it is more than hour past my “appointment time” I reschedule my appointment. Not once, have I ever been told more then, “the Doctor is running a ‘few minutes’ behind and will be with you shortly”. If they actually told the whole truth about the actual waiting time, most people would be extremely upset. I am sure most will wait, as rescheduling can be difficult and will take more time out of a busy schedule. But if everyone had the same attitude “10 minutes and they would have to reschedule the appointment” it would probably throw the entire system into total chaos on both sides of medical dynamic. In the patient/doctor relationship I would say for the most part it is the physician that is not willing to do the waiting. Hence the attitude of the “10 minute rule”. Truly how many of those physicians can say they have not made a patient wait longer the 10 minutes after their appointed time! Not many. I say the whole dynamic needs to be changed. In a polite world people would be considerate of each others time and value it accordingly. If I as a patient was going to be late, I would call and let the Doctor know that. I would not be demanding as to be seen immediately upon my arrival, but with-in a reasonable amount of time. Also, if Doctors truly valued their patients and their time constraints, a quick phone call saying the doctor is running behind “would you like to come in at this time” or even give them an chance to reschedule would be polite thing to do. But in this world of rudeness I have a feeling things will never change on either side…
Lynn, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I absolutely agree – there are two sides to this and patients do most of the waiting. I certainly experience similar frustration when I go to see my own doctors. And it is another reason that patients’ lateness annoys me – it increases the wait time of others. Again, I’m not sure there is a clear solution, but it definitely warrants continued discussion.
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