I’ve been at it a long time, and one thing (of many things) that I still have not gotten down is scheduling. I seem to have a method to my own madness, but somehow I imagine it’s not how other people do this. I’ve heard other shrinks say, “I’m booked for the next 4 weeks” or say they aren’t taking any new patients. Some people put a “no new patients” message on their answering machine. Wait, so no appointments for 4 weeks? What if a patient calls and needs to be seen very soon? Like this week? If you can’t wait, go to the ER? I thought the point of having a private doc was that you didn’t have to go to the ER unless something couldn’t be handled safely as an outpatient. And if you tell the world that you don’t take new patients, then don’t people stop referring to you? It seems to me that patients will come in and announce, “I’m doing better and want to come less often,” “I’m moving,” “I’m done,” or they will cancel an appointment, not call back, and not be heard from again for weeks or months. Sometimes it all happens on very short notice and life can be very unpredictable.
In my pre-shrink days, I thought that psychiatry worked such that patients came every week (or twice a week, or whatever) and had their own slots. Tuesday at 1, that’s me! So a psychiatrist had every slot full with patients this way, and could be “full,” until a patient finished and stopped coming, and then another soul was let in to the Tuesday at 1 slot. Gosh that would be nice, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*
Having a high-quality doctor’s visit takes effort on your doctor’s and yours. Here are 10 tips to get the most out of your next visit with a dermatologist:
1. Write down all the questions you have and things you want to discuss with me. Be sure to list any spots you’d like me to check or any moles that have changed. Have a loved one lightly mark spots on your skin they are concerned about.
2. Know your family history: Has anyone in your family had skin cancer? What type? Patients often have no idea if their parents have had melanoma. It matters. If possible, ask before seeing me.
3. Know your history well: Have you had skin cancer? What type? If you have had melanoma, then bring the detailed information about your cancer. Your prognosis depends on how serious the melanoma was, that is its stage, 1-4. You need to know how it was treated, if it had spread, and how deep it was. The answers to these questions determines the risk of your melanoma returning. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*
Yesterday, I borrowed liberally from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You Will Go” to describe the “weirdish, wild space” – The Waiting Place – in which we now find health reform.
This got me thinking about The Waiting Place in a different context: the time it takes to get an appointment with a physician. Anyone one of us who has had to wait weeks, or even months, for an appointment would agree that The Waiting Place is, as Dr. Seuss described it, a “most useless place” to be.
Critics of the pending health reform bills, like Conservatives for Patient Rights argue that they will lead to longer wait times for appointments. Their argument being that “government-run” health care, as exists in Canada or the United Kingdom, has been demonstrated to result in long waits for medical appointments.
I would dispute the premise that the reforms being considered by Congress are akin to the systems in place in Canada or the United Kingdom. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*