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Are Patients Charging Their Doctors For Time In The Waiting Room?

Patients are starting to bill doctors for making them wait, reports CNN.

“When he keeps patients waiting more than 15 minutes, Dr. Timothy Malia, a primary care physician in Fairport, New York, hands them a $5 bill. If patients in Eugene, Oregon, wait more than 10 minutes to see Dr. Pamela Wible, they receive a handmade soap or a bottle of lotion. When Dr. Cyrus Peikari, an internist in Dallas, recently had to miss a day of work because of a family emergency, he gave the patients whose appointments he canceled $50 at their next appointment.”

I’ve been kept waiting at doctors’ offices. I’ve been kept waiting as pharma reps walked past a full waiting room bearing plates of food. But I’ve also been kept waiting as doctors have handled other patients, undoubtedly more complex cases than mine.

Practice administrator and blogger Brandon Betancourt sums up the point nicely, and further extends the idea to every delay faced in life, such as toll booths on turpikes tied up with traffic.

I’ve also been squeezed into the schedule for emergency appointments, undoubtedly making someone else wait. And I’ve also been treated by phone on nights, weekends and holidays, and I’m not so sure that my primary care physician gets reimbursed for that.

So, kudos to those few physicians who respect their patients’ busy schedules enough to reward them. But I’m Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

What To Do If Your Doctor’s Appointment Isn’t Soon Enough

A friend of mine had a hard time getting in to see her doctor for an urgent visit last week. Reeling from an unexpected and sudden family upset, she was depressed and anxious, unable to sleep or function, and her therapist was advising an antidepressant.  She called her family doc, who works at a large hospital-based multispecialty group, and told the woman at the call center that she wanted to see the doctor on an urgent matter. She was given an appointment 6 weeks in the future.

Summoning her courage, my friend told the woman her story – and that she was really worried about herself and did not think she could wait that long.

“Sorry, that is the best I can do” was the reply.

Increasingly upset, my friend told the woman that if she had to wait that long, she just might kill herself in the interim. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*

When Patients Have To Remind Doctors About Their Appointments

Like many offices, we have a policy of calling patients to remind them of upcoming appointments, usually one to two days ahead of time. With the advent of our new EMR, we have the option of having the system send them email reminders. The vast majority of folks who’ve received these just love them. But there are still several patients a day who get phone calls.

The other recent change in the office, cutting the staff by 50%, means that my one remaining staffer is the one who makes the calls. She has other stuff to do, though — lots of other stuff, actually — so that she may not get around to these calls until later in the day.

Thank goodness our patients are right on the ball: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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