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How long will you wait to see a doctor?

Posted by NotEnoughRoses (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 13, 04 at 18:40

We left our son's old allergy doctor due to long, long waits - often 2 hours past appointment time. I would even book appointments early in the a.m. (8-8:30) and still have a long wait. (Office actually opened at 6 or so for allergy shots, but appointments didn't start until 8.) I complained repeatedly to her and she just shrugged. Last time at her office, we saw her partner - I asked him and he said he seldom ran past 45 minutes late, which is exactly how long of a wait we had that day to see him.
Went to a new allergist a few weeks ago - over an hour wait for first office visit. Follow-up appointment today - when we had waited for one hour, 15 minutes, I got up and walked out. Stopped by the front desk and told them that my time was more valuable than that and I refused to sit in an office that long - especially when the appointment is for a 2.5 year old!
I have never seen a field, in general, where the doctors seem to always be so late - our family doctor, ob/gyn (who actually would have a valid reason for running late!), ent, etc. are never more than 15-30 minutes late. What is up with allergist or am I just picking bad ones?! (The one we were going to is the only one either our pediatrician or family doctor gives referals for. I have given them both my negative opinion about their referals.) What do you do when your doctor makes you wait? Do you put up with it or do you complain? ~ Suzie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

I always take a good book. Then if I am called before I finish it, I am pleasantly surprised.

One main reason is that with specialities where there are not many in town, if the appointments were spaced out better, then it would be months and months before you could get an appointment. So appointments are jammed in, the doctors and staff work over and try to get everyone in as fast as they can. Some times it bogs down and it sounds as if you have had your share of bad luck.

Early morning appointments are not always the best if the doctor has hospital calls to make. He gets there and finds that he has been asked to consult on a few extra cases. This runs him behind time. Your best bet is the first one in the afternoon after lunch.

Good luck on your next try!
PB


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

At my last visit, I waited about 20 minutes in the main waiting area. Then they moved a few of us back to another waiting room. I starting talking to some of the other people that had appts. and found out one man was scheduled at 2:00, my appt. was at 2:15 and an eldery man's appt. was at 2:30. It was 3:15 and the man with the 2:00 appt. had not been seen. This is a family practice that has 15 doctors. The elderly man laughed and said he always brought a book as he hasnt' been seen by this particular doctor in less than a 3 hour wait! I said I wasn't waiting 3 hours and I asked one of the assts. when she came by how much longer it was going to be, that I had been waiting over an hour. I was only there basically to have my blood pressure checked! I do think it pays to speak up, as I was called into one of the rooms 10 mins. later, even before the man with the 2:00 appt.

I don't know why they schedule appts. so close together; I guess the more patients they see, the more money they make. It is absolutely not about quality care anymore. It's not even flu season yet, what's it going to be like then!


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

Oh! I thought you meant what I am doing now. I have a sinus problem and I don't want to go to the doctor, be put on antibiotics, deal with yeast infections for months afterward and get another sinus infection the next time I get a cold and do it all again.

In that case, I will wait until I need the emergency room and I KNOW ER doctors hate people who do that becuase my brother in law is one and I have heard him complain.

In the case that you are talking about, in the waiting room or examination room I will wait as long as I don't have another commitment I have to get to. It was a lot harder with little kids though. I did not have much tolerance and I often just told them to come out to my car and get me when they were ready because we had entertainment in the car.

Sunny


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

We waited a couple of hours and they were letting people who came in after us go in before us. When I complained, they said they were there earlier and were told to go shopping for a couple of hours because the doctor was late. I walked out that day. That no longer happens, I think the doc was loosing patients because we no longer wait more than 15 now.


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

I have never waited more than 15 minutes for my doctor, and that's on a bad day. Usually they get me right into an exam room get the vitals, then give me a magazine. The doctor comes soon after.

My dentist always takes me on time, but on the flip side, if you're more than a few minutes late, he'll make you reschedule. Seems fair to me.

I see a cardiologist on a regular basis, and never more than 10 minutes wait.

I can't imagine waiting like all of you do. What about the rest of your day!!!


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

I take my parents to see their cardiologist in another town and sometimes we have to wait as long as two hours. That doesn't happen very often but it does happen sometime. So we go prepared to wait. This doctor is very busy and sometimes has emergencies. We just tough it out because we know he's very good.

Dancey


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

A doctor I was seeing for a number of years became part of a group and the waiting time kept growing. The last time I went the waiting room was packed (no chairs left) and one woman had a fit and started yelling at the receptionist that it was almost 2 hours and she knew the doctors were in with drug salesmen instead of seeing patients. She demanded her co-pay back and stormed out. She caused quite a scene, but we all began to realize no one had been called in for almost an hour, so they apparently were chatting and getting their freebies from the drug salesmen. Slowly we all started leaving. I have never gone back.


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

Often they are ORDERED by the HMO to schedule "X" patients per hour, and when it takes more time than the HMPO hopes, they get way behind.

One man successfully sued his doctor for wasting his time.


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

I was just at my PCP yesterday. I always take a book too because I wait an hour at minimum. Sometimes I get upset, but now I'm used to it, and don't want to change doctors. I really like this doctor so I'll wait.

I work for a busy doctors office, and know that another problem is that when people go to see the doctor, it usually takes more time than the doctor prepared for because the patient didn't tell the scheduling person "everything" they wanted to see the doctor for. So 1 minute turns into 10 or more.


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

The only time I ever had long waits in doctor's offices was when I was using private doctors. Now that I'm with a large HMO (Kaiser), in the last 15 years I've seldom had more than a 15 min wait for GPs or specialists.

I really don't mind long waits if I have nowhere else I need to be and in fact look forward to some nice quiet reading time. My HMO seldom allows me this luxury. :-)

Jodi-


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

Sunny - Yeah, to answer my own question that way - I, too, wait until I am almost dead to see a doctor! I hate, hate, hate going to the doctor. How is your sinus infection? Better by now, I hope!
If I am going for myself, and my son is at home with my DH, then I don't mind a wait - in fact, I do love that 'quiet' time. But this was a pediatric allergist - and his office was NOT child-friendly - in fact, he had a large glass coffee table and glass end tables! And no one else in the waiting room! In fact, they took us back to an exam room after 45 minutes in the waiting room and walked us clear back to the last (8th) exam room - all the rooms were empty, doors open. Interesting that Jane mentioned doctors meeting with drug salesmen - I walked in with another lady - she was dressed up and carried a large professional bag. I assumed she was another doctor in the practice or something - now I wonder if she was a drug salesman?! (I was wondering at the time about her being so dressed up compared to anyone else in the office.) No matter, we are not going back. I do intend to write the doctor a letter explaining why I was not satisfied with his practice.
Joann mentioned how her dentist keeps on time - making you rebook if you are late - very fair to me, I think. Our dentist actually 'bumps up' your appointment time when they do their reminder call! I have asked them about it many times and they deny it - but they send out reminder postcards a month before your appointment, then call the day before - the time they tell you on the phone is always 15 minutes earlier than listed on the postcard! They tell me, "Oh, I think you must be mis-reading the time on the postcard, the print is probably smudged and you can't read it clearly" but the time is very clear on the postcard - they are bumping up the times. Not that I care - I know they call you back as soon as you walk in the door - many times I am back out by the time of my actual appointment! They are so prompt. ~ Suzie


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

I used to manage an office for five very busy OB/GYNs. We would try to schedule patients so they wouldn't have more than a 15-minute wait, but as was mentioned earlier, sometimes people don't give the full/real reason they need to see the doctor. The folks doing the scheduling then can't allow the proper amount of time for that patient which results in other patients having to wait longer.

Also, as was mentioned earlier, depending on the doctor's speciality, there might be emergencies or unforeseen "events" happening that demand the doctor's attention, putting all the appointments off-schedule. It's certainly irritating if you're one of the patients who has to wait, but it's certainly comforting to the patient having the emergency to know that their doctor is "there for them" instead of having the attitude that, "sorry, I've got patients waiting."

Dental appointments are much, much easier. They know how long any particular procedure should take, and they schedule accordingly. Let's say you're in for a "regular filling," and the dentist discovers that, gee, here's another cavity that has developed since those X-rays were taken.... you're going to have to schedule another appointment. Rarely will the dentist take care of another problem at the same time.

About those pharmaceutical salespeople (they used to be referred to as "detail men") -- the doctors rarely actually spend any time with them. Even though they make it through the door from the waiting room to the "inner sanctum," they are most likely either talking to the nurse, or else they're just back at the drug supply cabinets, restocking their samples. In over 7 years, I only saw any of the doctors talking to a "detail person" twice -- when they had specific questions about a new med.

Another thing to consider in a crowded waiting room -- is there more than one doctor in that practice? If so, it's likely that more than one doc is seeing patients that day, so both docs have patients in the waiting room. One doc may be moving right along, yet the other doc might have been called to the hospital on an emergency (although it would be nice if the office staff would at least pass that info along, so you could choose to reschedule).

People should NEVER use the emergency room for routine care. That's what causes delays in ERs, and that's what drives up the cost of ER/hospital care. There are plenty of "emergency walk-in clinics" for folks who don't have a primary care physician, or who don't want to take time off to see a doctor during daytime work hours. Most of these places are open until 8:00 p.m. or even until midnight. A sinus infection, sore throat, or vaginal itch that you've had for a week or more is NOT an emergency, even if it is 2:30 in the morning.


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

Speaking of ER, I went there last year with vaginal bleeding in my 15-16th week of pregnancy. I had a skirt on with no underwear and a towel between my legs, DH and I were distraught as all hell and there was no one around. It was maybe 8 a.m. and the only one in there with us was the vending machine guy. It took forever just to get someone to let us in to admit us. As I'm sitting there wondering if I'm still pregnant the clerk is busy asking me if my husband abuses me. While I know they have a job to do, it would have been nice to get a little quicker response, since there was no one else there!

The only time I really wait is at the OB's office. Usually it's in an uncomfortable situation like when you're completely undressed and have a draft of air up your backside and you're waiting for 25 minutes. LOL Most of the office visits during pg. are pretty routine and they maybe spend ten minutes with you to do an exam or whatever. So I'm not sure why my practice takes so long. But I still like them anyway. One plus is you get to see pictures of all the newborns they've delivered while you wait! :>


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RE: How long will you wait to see a doctor?

Phyllis, how did you make out?

I have a neuro, my 1st visit I waited an hour. I'll never forget how pissed I was & told him he'd better be worth that wait. He's been my home base for my back problems since then, a little over 3 years. It is rare that I wait over 15 minutes now.

Then there is my pain management Dr. It's a 45 minute ride, then anywhere from 30 minutes (to see his nurse for meds) or up to 3 hours for him. I know not to schedule any thing else that day. He can be late for any number of reasons- one time he was at the hospital giving me a new surgery; we had to wait for a rep from the company to get there; I don't doubt it messed up his whole day. Another is he loves to talk- computers or gaming. I try not to keep a conversation going any more, especially if I know he's running late. Why do I put up with it? He's the only pain management Dr that will see a hopeless case like mine.

Our family Dr can also make us wait up to 2 hours depending on the time of day. I try not to schedule past noon. A 4pm visit will get me home by 8pm :( It is usually appointments with my 11 year old that we wait, she's usually got strep or inflamed tonsils. It is rare I even go there. We put up with it due to crappy insurance from my ex husband. Another Dr in the plan takes weeks before seeing patients.


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