Paradigm shift needed #2: waiting room

I needed new glasses. I usually go through a friend who owns a small eyewear shop with no in-house optometrist. So I made an appointment with an outside optometrist. I had to wait two weeks to get in. I made the appointment for the morning – 11:15 A.M. – so they wouldn’t be running too far behind. I closed my office and drove to their office. I arrived on time.

At 11:50 – I’d waited 35 minutes – I told the receptionist I was leaving. I apologized, “I have a client of my own – at 12:30 – and I need to be there when she arrives.”

The receptionist also apologized, saying there had been an emergency and the optometrist was running behind.

The last time I went there I waited an hour and ten minutes past my scheduled appointment. I’m sure most readers can come up with a story about how long they waited for a medical provider. Others may think, “That’s the way it is,” implying I should be accepting of this situation.

My point is, even though it is a common occurrence, I am not accepting of it. Consider a hairdresser: high school diploma, no back-up (nurses, aides, etc.), her/his clients showing up late and early, yet you seldom have to wait longer than scheduled. Why can’t a doc, with numerous degrees and support staff, be on time?

“Emergency” is really not the reason. These people are, after all, in the “emergency” business. This is the 21st century, time for business-not-as-usual.

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3 Comments on “Paradigm shift needed #2: waiting room”

  1. mike Says:

    I agree with you completely. Anyone seeing our family doctor can typically wait 1 to 1 1/2 hours and if they’re really lucky, less than 20 minutes. Our dentist (who unfortunately just retired) took you in on time, every time and did since 1973.

    Unfortunately you can’t (or maybe you can) call a new doctor and ask the receptionist “what’s the standard waiting time” because you probably won’t get the right answer. Then if you switch and the wait is long or you don’t like the doctor you wasted your time.

    I like the guy I go to and have gone to him for years and went to his father before him so I don’t really want to change…fortunately I don’t go often and I hope it stays that way.

  2. delwin17 Says:

    There is a 18 month waiting time to get accepted in to the local-one city away- Veterans Administration Clinic with real doctors and an ex-ray and bloodwork clinic and lab, cancer doctor, pharmacy, psychiatric clinis, and it is always full. So full they have to send golf carts out into the parking lots that stretch up to three blocks away. That’s the Federal Governments doing- packing hundreds of vets into a four story building for yearly physicals and various services. Your told to show up fifteen minutes early but no more than fifteen minutes early. If you are told to show up at 10am you will be seen at 10am and if your late you get rescheduled because the guy with a 10:30am appointment WILL be seen on time. I’d like to know how a government medical building can run like clockwork with hundreds and hundreds of patients but NO private doctor can. The main problem i see at private Doctors isn’t emergencies, it’s HMO & PPO reps and Drug salesmen showing up anytime they want to and being seen immediately, sometimes three in a row. They’re in charge of the kickbacks and telling the doctors what prescriptions to write for bonuses.

  3. Barbara Says:

    What do you get for the time spent “waiting”…?
    Start now..2.minutes….write…”GO”
    Read it back to me.

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