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Old 04-05-11, 11:49 PM   #1
gman26
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anyone here work in a doctors office?

Why does it take so freakin long to be seen?
I go to my gp and its quick; I go to a specialist and I always get in after I've been there an hour. What are they doing back there?
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Old 04-06-11, 12:11 AM   #2
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Double booking or even triple booking patients.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:54 AM   #3
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Posting here.
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Old 04-06-11, 07:05 AM   #4
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Why does it take so freakin long to be seen?
I go to my gp and its quick; I go to a specialist and I always get in after I've been there an hour. What are they doing back there?
The most common reason for an office to be behind are the patients. You have one patient that shows up 15 minutes late and it snow balls the entire day. OR, you get a patient on the schedule for X reason but when they get in to the office they want to talk about X and Y Z A B G T U refill my script etc etc.

9 time out of 10 if I am behind it is due to patients. You have an option. turn away late patients or see them. I want to go to a doctor that cares about patients.
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Old 04-06-11, 07:17 AM   #5
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The most common reason for an office to be behind are the patients. You have one patient that shows up 15 minutes late and it snow balls the entire day. OR, you get a patient on the schedule for X reason but when they get in to the office they want to talk about X and Y Z A B G T U refill my script etc etc.

9 time out of 10 if I am behind it is due to patients. You have an option. turn away late patients or see them. I want to go to a doctor that cares about patients.
Acceptable. I want to go to a doctor that cares about patients who are responsible enough to show up for an appointment on time.

Unacceptable. If I get to the gate 15 min after my plane's departure time, I don't expect it to wait for me.
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Old 04-06-11, 08:48 AM   #6
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Unacceptable. If I get to the gate 15 min after my plane's departure time, I don't expect it to wait for me.
Have you ever been delayed getting to an appointment because of unexpected traffic? I have. But if I'm stuck on the freeway and I know I won't make it on time, I call the doctor's office and let them know so they can let other patients who are there go ahead of me. When I get to the office I fully expect to have to wait a bit longer because I was late.
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Old 04-06-11, 08:52 AM   #7
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I dunno about you guys but the doctor I always see only bothers to work 2 days a week.

I mean, I'd take 5 days a week off if I could but I don't plan on signing an oath to keep people healthy. Some people don't understand higher responsibility.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:00 AM   #8
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Providing healthcare is always as unpredictable as the the patients it serves. I'd rather have a doc that takes the time to do a thorough job rather than rush me out to stay on schedule. One doc I go to started a quality improvement program in his office a few years ago, his operation runs like a clock and the care is top notch. Look for providers who have a good quality improvement program and you will most likely have on time appointments.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:03 AM   #9
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Have you ever been delayed getting to an appointment because of unexpected traffic? I have. But if I'm stuck on the freeway and I know I won't make it on time, I call the doctor's office and let them know so they can let other patients who are there go ahead of me. When I get to the office I fully expect to have to wait a bit longer because I was late.
You are the courteous exception

Traffic is never an issue for me (small town). Poor planning on my part sometimes is. I would expect the physician to take the next patient in those instances.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:13 AM   #10
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I read a UK magazine called Cycling Active and I saw that they were offering a free years subscription to doctors.
The idea is that they will then put the magazines in the waiting areas for people to read (after the doctors have read them of course).

I think this is a really good idea to promote well being and get more people out on their bikes.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:20 AM   #11
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i gather body parts for couch, does that count as working in a doctors office?
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:24 AM   #12
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i gather body parts for couch, does that count as working in a doctors office?
So couch likes Texas long horns? I don't think that counts jsharr.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:25 AM   #13
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I did not think it did either, but I did not want to blow my own horn.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:56 AM   #14
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There IS a concept in business called "time management" that medical doctors have never heard of. Dentists seem to manage to minimize the wait time.

If I spent time going to doctors, and had to wait more than 15 minutes for my appointment (barring hospital emergency) I would want to bill the doctor for MY time.
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Old 04-06-11, 10:24 AM   #15
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Maybe I'm making everyone wait in the waiting room for an hour. I used to spend almost 45 minutes with my pediatrician. lol
but now with my current doctor they just want me out in like 5 minutes.

I think the wait time with the dentist is shorter because you often have the dental assistant/hygienist distracting you.

The ER is the worst. Waited 4 hours before I could see a doctor after a car accident. Then he just ran his finger on my spine and was like "You're good to go!" >:|
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Old 04-06-11, 11:16 AM   #16
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I was at a specialist last week and they were waiting for me twice! (And I was early both times, too!)
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Old 04-06-11, 11:27 AM   #17
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I was at a specialist last week and they were waiting for me twice! (And I was early both times, too!)
That's impressive, Mr. Sperm Donor.
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Old 04-06-11, 11:29 AM   #18
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That's impressive, Mr. Sperm Donor.
Nah, they are a relatively new clinic and no one knows which network(s) they are in yet, except me, apparently. And their bookkeeping is all messed up. One appointment wasn't even in their schedule and they saw me within 15 minutes, anyway.
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Old 04-06-11, 11:32 AM   #19
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My dentist always runs late. So one time I asked for an 8:30 appointment when they open. I sat for 15 minutes while all the employes chattered and got ready. So it starts out bad and just gets worse as the day goes on.
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Old 04-06-11, 11:42 AM   #20
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I worked as a dental assistant. The way we booked things was what type of treatment - cleaning, root canal, extraction, etc. all different dentists. you get a different dentist every time. People like the wait time to be faster but they don't like that the dentist is different every time. depends on how big the office is. We had 5-6 at the big office and only 2 at the small office. Just what i've noticed.
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Old 04-06-11, 01:18 PM   #21
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Maybe I'm making everyone wait in the waiting room for an hour. I used to spend almost 45 minutes with my pediatrician. lol
but now with my current doctor they just want me out in like 5 minutes.

I think the wait time with the dentist is shorter because you often have the dental assistant/hygienist distracting you.

The ER is the worst. Waited 4 hours before I could see a doctor after a car accident. Then he just ran his finger on my spine and was like "You're good to go!" >:|
That is part of it. I can think of a few more reasons.

My father was a pedodontist (Childrens dentist). I worked with him for a few years during and after college.

His time management was excellent, but there were advantages, especially in patient perception.

No hygienist, just me (or another assistant) and a receptionist who could also assist some.

Getting behind has 3 sources, the first 2 being the main ones by a mile. Patients showing up late and surprises once a patient is in. The 3rd is misestimating the time needed for a procedure. At least in the situations I saw directly that one is rare.

Ok now to bussines with dad.

Huge advantage over doctors is that in dentistry well over 50% of the Doctors time spent in dentistry is a planned procedure. E.g. Fillings or extractions. (for adult dentists add crowns and root canals).

Dads layout was 3 chairs in a common room (with one being seperated a bit which could be isolated with a sliding partition) and a 4th chair in a seperate room for x-rays.

A patient comes in for a checkup. Normally they get bite wing x-rays done first. 99% of the time I would do that. Patient can be in right away, even if Dad was busy. Typically I would develop the x-rays while the patient was still in the x-ray chair. Let's say 5 minutes. Then if a chair was available in hte big room patient was seated there. But I had flexability. Family with 3 kids comes in for checkups, I would x-ray the first. Move to teh big room where Dad gets started on cleaning and exam. I x-ray second... I don't develop the x-rays until all are done being x-rayed.

Someone is in for a filling. They get seated and then the novacaine is applied. It takes 5-10 minutes to take effect. If we were busy it would be that dad briefly left another patient to apply the novacaine. Minimal loss. Even if a doctor did the rough equavelent he would have to change rooms, losing almost any advantage.

I could go on. But the huge advantage of Dentists is dealing with fillings, simple fillings, not crowns, root canals or the like. If patient comes in for a checkup and has a couple of cavities the dentist can do them then if things are slow, or schedule for a later appt. If a patient has multiple cavities and was scheduled the time to do 2 or 3 a dentist can decide to do only 1. If there are 2 on opposite sides of the mouth we would normally do 1 appointment for each. There still might be ways to jugle time. One could be simple, a buckle pit, something I could physically do! (And legally if under direct supervision, I did do a couple, but time loss not time saving). The other might involve 3 tooth surfaces. If we were busy guess which got done!

Dentists rarely have emergencies in the huge negative scheduling sense. Infected tooth? If it is bad they need antibiotics for at least a day before it can be extracted.

Oh we had emergencies, but 1 hour was near the top, often far less. We could look and schedule the followup. Get cold season and people get sick, need in now and it is 10% of their patients that need this.

As best I can see for Physicians there is little if anythign where they can shorten the time needed for a patient. For a dentist there is apt to be someone who can have one cavity filled instead of 2 or the easy one instead of the hard one. And more.

Now planning is involved. Schedule the hard one first.

I know some medical practices try very hard to create slack, or at least catch up possibilities. One office I know seems to have a 2 hour Lunch. My bet is sometimes that is a 15 minute send the recptionist out to get a sandwich.

Rememebr many only see a Doctor when they are sick and want help right away.
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Old 04-06-11, 04:26 PM   #22
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Many doctor's offices use the paper-calendar method of scheduling. A lot of them nowadays have sophisticated software that collects meta-data about the patients and procedures and actually adds in or remove buffer zones between appointments based upon the likelihoods of delays or extra time needed. One office I've seen have an automated fingerprint check-in so the folks in back know immediately when you walk in so they can prepare for your visit right way.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:51 PM   #23
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My knee surgeon was terrible about wait times. I was extremely annoyed on my first visit after having to wait over an hour to see him. Once I got back there, I understood why. He took as much time as his patients needed and was fabulous about showing me what was going on in my knee, we looked over scans together, we discussed options and pros and cons of each option. When I left, I was able to make a well informed decision about treatment. I learned to call about 10 minutes before my appointment time to find out how far behind schedule he was. The receptionist then told me how long after my scheduled appointment time I should show up. It worked out great. I would rather have a specialist that takes all the time he needs with a patient and gives the individualized attention that he gives...especially for something as important as my knee.

My GP, on the other hand, is fantastic about appointment times. I never wait more than 5 minutes to get in to see him. Since I always arrive 15 - 20 minutes early, there are times that I am out of his office before my scheduled appointment time. I would say that time management and not overbooking are keys to his success.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:15 PM   #24
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I'll shoot my niece a message and ask her if she knows. She's a recent grad of OU Medical, doing her residency at Texas A&M in Temple, and she's already passed her boards.

It's been my experience that the quality of the support staff has something to do with it as well. The Doc may be a medical genius, but if his/her office team isn't up to the task...
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Old 04-07-11, 07:23 AM   #25
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One thing not mentioned is how long it takes for some patients to answer enough questions to allow the doc to help them. Some are bored and lonely and just want to tell you about their other problems you can't help them with, other want to tell you about their latest vacation before they tell you they can't afford to pay their bill, and the confusion/nervousness that comes with some conditions causes people to do things like point to their left side and tell you the problem is on the right. One of my patients may end up in the psych ward if he ever needs to go to the ER, he can't answer a simple question without an answer worthy of a politician caught in a scandal and always takes more time than most when he comes in. He's nice guy, he just can't give you a straight answer to a simple question most days - even when we gave him a form to fill out that asks him to describe his problem.
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