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Cartoon: Why A Patient’s Time May Be More Valuable Than Her Physician’s

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*

Does Your Doctor Have Time To Think About You?

At the New York Times’ City Room Blog, Joel Cohen writes:

my wife and I are convinced that all medical students should have to pass Overbooking 101 before they can become doctors.Again and again, we arrive at a doctor’s aptly named waiting room on or before the scheduled time, only to learn that three or four others sitting there have been given the same appointment.

He says doctors need to understand the impact of this on their patients.  I agree, but not just because it’s annoying.

A typical doctor sees thirty patients a day.  Some see even more.

Reflect on that math.  If your doctor sees 30 patients a day, that’s 150 a week, 600 a month, maybe 7,000 a year.

It means that if it’s been even two months since you last saw your doctor, he has probably seen more than a thousand people since your last visit.  It’s why there’s often that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

Waiting In The ER Is Okay As Long As Patients Know How Long

Patients don’t mind waiting in the ER as long as they’re kept apprised of the time, an industry survey revealed. This is a good thing, since ER waits have risen nationally to an average of four hours and seven minutes this year.

Press Ganey Associates, Inc., has conducted the survey annually and says that ER wait times are four more minutes than last year, or a half hour more than the first survey in 2002. The company collected data on 1.5 million patients treated at 1,893 hospitals in 2009.

Despite longer wait times, patient satisfaction with U.S. hospital emergency departments stayed about the same in 2009. Communication was the key, as patients who waited more than four hours, but received “good” or “very good” information about delays were just as satisfied as patients who spent less than one hour in the emergency department.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

Get A Discount If Your Doctor Is Running Late?

Should doctors face consequences if they run late? From The New York Times’ health blog, Well, comes a story where a medical group promises “same-day appointments and longer, more personalized visits that start on time.”

Sounds good, right? But it comes with a caveat, namely, a $199 annual membership fee. A tremendous amount of primary care can be bought with that amount of money, and if patients were willing to pay that, service will most definitely improve. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

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