Friday, July 22, 2011

Waiting at the Doctor's Office...

We live in a world where reserving a rental car doesn't mean your going to get a rental car exactly when you want it. Where having an airplane ticket doesn't mean your going to be on an airplane (or the intended flight) when you want to be. And we live in a world where having a doctor's appointment at 1:00 doesn't mean your going to have a doctor's appointment at 1:00.

The average wait time in a doctor's office in the nation is right around 24 minutes. That means that some people get right in, and some people end up waiting for an hour or more.

Many doctor's today are triple booking their appointments, so that appointment that you have at 1:00 could very likely be shared with 2 other people. Try getting to the doctor's 10 minutes earlier, and beat the other two. It could end up saving you a half hour or more.

It's kind of funny how it works at a doctor's office. When you first arrive, you spend the first part of waiting in waiting room #1. After a long period of time spent reading 4 year old parenting magazines, you are sent to waiting room #2 and left in a holding pattern.

Exam Room

This second room is the room with the roll of paper out on the exam table that never seems to be changed. In this second room, you get the illusion that you are close to meeting with the doctor. You can hear him walking by outside, talking with the nurse or other patients. The tension builds, but alas, you continue to wait. Should you pull out your phone and play around? "Would it be rude to the doctor if I was on my phone when he walks in?" you ask yourself... You continue to wait.

Finally at about 1:45, the doctor comes in and you put your phone away quickly. If many of you are waiting for very long periods of time like this at your doctor's office, you should consider shopping around and finding a doctor that doesn't triple book his appointments, because not all doctor's do. I understand why some of them triple book, some family doctor's are not making bank like we think they do. The specialists and surgeons are usually the one's taking on the burden of all that money. You may be limited by your insurance as to who you can go see, but it's much worse not having any insurance.

If it's really bad, write a letter to your doctor and tell them about your frustration. It's been done before, and it has caused doctor's to change the way they make appointments. Or you could be a smart scheduler, make your appointment the first one in the morning, or the first one after lunch.

So, next time your at the doctor's office, bring something to do in waiting room #1, and don't get your hopes up too much in waiting room #2.

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