Recently I was in a Doctor’s office and there was a sign at the receptionist window which read “If you are more than 15 minutes late for your appointment, then you will have to reschedule.” I began pondering that statement and I thought; Hmmmm, if they can do that why can’t I? So I created my own policy which states “If I have to wait more than 15 minutes to see the Doctor, then I will leave and maybe or maybe not reschedule.” Pretty bold I thought, but nonetheless a fair solution to the common problem of waiting to see Doctors. I do realize of course that emergencies do come up for a Doctor, but I am merely talking about waiting in the waiting room or examining room.
Case in point; last week I had a Doctor’s appointment and arrived 10 minutes early as requested by the staff to do, did my check-in, and sat down. I sat right next to the entrance to the inner office. Now, mind you I am not looking for any kind of special treatment, but I would at least expect the Doctor to acknowledge my presence when walking past me (the reception area is accessed by another door in the room, so the Doctor has to go through the waiting room to get to it). There were only two of us in the room waiting and the Doctor passed through four times, never once looking at us, saying hello, or saying sorry I am running late. That would have made all the difference in the world but I also realize that Doctors have bad days just like the rest of us. Nonetheless, courtesy is important.
We have all had these types of experiences. Had the Doctor spoken to me, I would have told him that I needed to be someplace else in half an hour. As it turned out, I waited for 45 minutes, just to give him the benefit of the doubt all the while reading outdated magazines. However, I will say that this Doctor is notorious for running late. The hard part of it all is that the Doctor doesn’t seem to care, but he is an excellent physician. Sure, I try to be understanding, but you have to draw the line somewhere. So I did not feel bad when I left. I tried to tell the receptionist I was leaving but she was talking about nothing with someone, so after two minutes, I walked out. I felt good about putting my own policy into practice for once even though I stretched it 45 minutes; plenty of time I thought.
Later that evening, a fortunate happenstance occurred. The doctor actually called me and apologized. Wow, talk about a serendipity! He was very gracious and I accepted and rescheduled my appointment.
Here is the scoop on ways to shorten your wait time (from Fox News):
Get the scoop on the best times
In general, the first appointment of the day and the one right after lunch have the shortest wait times—but not always.
Choose your day strategically
To get in and get out quickly, avoid Tuesdays and Thursdays: Tuesday is the most popular day to visit the doctor while Thursday sees the longest waits.
Call before you go
This is probably the simplest thing most of us don’t do. Phone your Doctor’s office, and if you’re told he’s running behind, ask what time you should reasonably arrive. If you show up and find out there’s still a wait, see if you can leave your cell phone number while you go run errands, or get coffee and come back.
If your Doctor is chronically late, voice your concern to him.
Lead with a compliment, then bring up the long waits. You could say, “You’re an excellent Doctor, but I get really frustrated when it takes 45 minutes or more to see you. Do you plan on making changes to address that problem?” Physicians should apologize if they’re late, and if they’re dismissive, consider looking for a new physician—seriously.
Or just skip the visit entirely
A growing number of practices have Nurses on staff who can order prescription refills or answer basic questions—like what to do about seasonal allergies or a cough—by phone. Some Doctors also respond via e-mail, eliminating the need for in-person visits.
I will add a sixth way to shorten your wait time:
Send your Doctor a bill
Yes, your time is worth something too. Create an invoice and send a bill to the Doctor for your wasted time, lost wages, fuel to get there, and other arrangements you had to make like hiring a babysitter. Some Doctors will actually pay it in order to avoid bad publicity and keep you as a patient.
Well, there you have it folks; my ideas for creating a serendipity for yourself and winning the battle with your Doc over whose time is more valuable. It should be yours!
God bless you!