Patient education is a responsibility that I, and the rest of the team at Family Practice Center, take very seriously. I’m always happy to answer questions that I receive from patients to the best of my ability. One question that I have received a lot over the years is, “Why are doctors always late?”. I personally hate being late to an appointment and try my best every day to be professional and respectful of my patients’ time. I could probably write a book on this topic, so to help provide a little clarity, here is my brief take on waiting times and what you can do to help ensure your office visits are as efficient as possible.
What are the most common reasons you might have to wait for your doctor?
- My previously scheduled appointments or a walk-in appointment had issues that required more of my time than anticipated. This is common in cases where the patient is experiencing a serious illness or recent emotional trauma that requires a little more of my care and attention. This is a courtesy extended to any patient who needs it.
- One of my colleagues needed my help in caring for one of her or his patients. At Family Practice Center, we work as a team and sometimes that means being there to assist your fellow provider.
- Previously scheduled patients showed up late for their visits. This is unfortunate, but it happens.
- I am fielding phone calls from other doctors, pharmacies, or insurance companies regarding previous or upcoming appointments.
What can you do to help make sure your visit is as efficient as possible?
- Make an effort to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. This ensures that any paperwork we need from you can be completed prior to your scheduled visit time.
- Use our online portal to complete paperwork prior to your visit. This can also expedite the pre-appointment process and allow us to see you as soon as possible.
- Try to limit the number of issues that you want to address during your appointment to a maximum of 3 or 4. It’s very difficult to provide the absolute best care in a short period of time if we’re having to tend to several issues at once. For some patients, receiving the best-possible medical care may require multiple visits.
- Try to be succinct when discussing what your concerns are and when responding to questions. If I need to know more, I’ll ask you. Your condition and your story absolutely matters to me. I promise to do my best to listen and ask direct questions to acquire the information I need to make the correct diagnosis.
- I recommend making a list of the most pressing issues that you would like to address before your appointment. That way we can prioritize that list from most important to least important and address the most pressing matters in a timely fashion.
Why don’t you just make all your appointment slots longer to accommodate every patient?
- Longer time slots mean I wouldn’t be able to see as many patients each day. It’s important to me to be available to my patients when they need me and having fewer available appointment slots could limit some people’s access to the medical care they need.
- No shows. Patients missing appointments for some reason or another is something that occurs every single day at any medical practice. Longer time slots mean even more potentially lost time for the other patients on any given day.
- The reality is that most office visits are typically quite fast. Every patient doesn’t need extra time with their doctor, so budgeting that for all patients would be rather inefficient and unfair to others.
I hope you found this helpful. It’s never a doctor’s intention to inconvenience a patient by making them wait. Hopefully this clarifies this issue and can provide the information you need to make all of your future visits as quick and efficient as possible. For more information or if you would like to schedule an appointment today, please contact Family Practice Center. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as my Instagram account, for additional health tips, news, photos, and so much more.