On Monday, I shared how my 90 minutes of eating adds value to the other 1350 minutes I have every day. I briefly mentioned that healthful food choices save me a whole bunch of time at the doctor’s office; but, the truth is, I haven’t been to the doctor in so long, I really didn’t know how much time those food choices saved me.
Yesterday morning, I had an appointment to see my regular general physician at 9 AM. When I called to make the appointment, no one told me to arrive ahead of time to fill out paperwork or anything; so, I showed up at 9….and was given five pages of paperwork to fill out. Most of these forms were things that were already in my record. And the information hadn’t changed. My mother died from cancer in 2003. I haven’t seen my doctor in almost three years; but, the facts surrounding Mother’s death have not changed …. and neither has the rest of my family history. In fact, the only thing that had changed was my insurance information, which I gave the receptionist right when I checked in. The whole sheaf of papers was a waste of my time.
But …. I’m a team player and filled it all out. This annoyed me, but not unduly. What annoyed me most was that 50 minutes after my arrival, I was still sitting in the waiting room. I finally left without seeing the doctor.
I had scheduled another appointment with a different doctor at 10:30, an hour and a half after my first appointment. This should have been plenty of time; however, I realized at 9:50, that there was no way I could see my GP and make it to my other appointment in time to arrive by 10:15. I had been told by the second office to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Now, here’s the really funny part – I didn’t fill out any new paperwork there. The receptionist just made a copy of my new insurance card and told me to take a seat. I was in and out of that office before 11:00. I saw the nurse practitioner (which is all I ever see at my GP’s office either), had blood drawn, vitals done, and a full consultation in less than 45 minutes.
Physicians, I’m going to speak for many of your patients for a moment. We are frustrated that your offices do not value our time. We understand that emergencies come up and that sometimes we have to wait a while to see you. However, since these delays occur every single time we set foot in your offices, we no longer believe they are the result of emergencies. Rather, we now believe that they are the result of poor planning …. constantly. And we’re tired of it. You want to know why you’re losing business to those Doc-in-a-Box places? It’s because: 1) we see a nurse practitioner there, 2) we expect to see a nurse practitioner there, and 3) we don’t have to wait to see her. At your offices, we expect to see you, end up seeing your nurse practitioners and we still have to wait! And, guess what? You’re billing our insurance like we saw you and we know it. If either my insurance or I am paying for your expertise, then, by golly, that’s what I expect to get!
For a long time, I suspected that my doctor no longer actually showed up at the office bearing her name. Today, however, I heard her voice and it seemed to be interacting with someone; so, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a recording. It might have been a very clever recording, but I’m fairly confident it was a real time event. Since I never actually saw her, I can’t be sure.
I can, however, be sure that I’m in the market for a new GP – hopefully one who respects my time enough not to make me waste it leafing through ancient magazines.