Thursday, May 03, 2012

Why are doctor's late?

This post is in answer to a recent KevinMD post on doctors and wait times. Here are the reasons why I can run behind, in no particular order:

1: seemingly simple patient condition turns out to be complex.
2: patient arrives late
3: the 2:30 patient arrives at 2:50. The 3:00 patient arrives at 2:45. The 2:45 patient arrives on time.
4: Patient needs more time on initial intake forms
5: Medical emergency I have to deal with
6: Hospital doctor on the phone. Needs me now!
7: Elderly patient needs more time
8: Unexpected diagnosis needs discussion
9: Patient complaint about copay.
10: "Oh yeh doc, and I also have ED".
11: patient calls for 3rd time, needs me on the phone now.
12: pharmacist on phone. Needs to speak to me now.

Note that what is not present in the list is my lack of respect for patients' time, my own time, or anyone else's time. Nor do you find any profit maximization motive.

So why do doctors run late? Because doctoring is complicated. So before you take the doctor to small claims court or trash him on Angie's List, cut him some slack.

And one more thing: If you need extra time or special care from me, you'll get it, even if it makes me fall even more behind.