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How long should you be kept waiting for your doctor?

Started 1300025784.63 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1300283575.52 by glb613

The last time I needed to see my doctor, I was given a 10am appointment. As usual I was there a 9:30, there were maybe 8 patients there when I arrived, but most of them were there for blood tests,so they weren't there to see the doctors. I mean I understand that being given a 10 app. does not mean it can't be delayed a half hour, but not almost 3 hours! my doctor finally saw me at 12:45. It's not the first time either,I take care of my elderly father 88 years old, my doctor knows it, but besides this its very frustrating having to wait so long for an appointment I had non the less have to make a month before. What is the point of having an appointment?and why do people think that others peoples time has no value?in those 3 hours of waiting I could have done so many things, mean while I had to sit there like a punishment for 3 hours, I felt so frustrated that I just started crying because I just can't stand injustice,she [ my doctor ] said it was not her fault and left, but sent a nurse in to check my pulse which infuriated me even more.Now I just dread the idea of having to see my doctor, to get my medications.

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ChoosandMa­nolos1300026672.895013 PostsRegistered 7/2/2006

Emergencies with other people happen, and if I had an emergency I would certainly want my doctor to take all the time she needed with me. The family practice group I go to, if one of the providers is hung up with a patient they try to see if other providers that are in can help to avoid a back-log, but this isn't always possible either.

My mom was a horrible "waiter" in offices. I would only make first appointment of the morning or first appointment after lunch for her.

barbados1300026684.4714405 PostsRegistered 5/21/2007

There is no way I would have waited until 12:45 to be seen. I would have left after an hour. Been there and done that. If I'm not seen in an hour I leave.

Mox ie1300026993.2735221 PostsRegistered 7/16/2010

No more waiting for me. I have Kaiser now and they have a policy. If you wait more than 20 minutes for your appointment you go to the receptionist and ask when the Dr. will see you. If the Dr. can't see you in for several more minutes you can wait or you can reschedule. If it is longer you have the same choice, but you can also go to patient services and file a complaint about the Dr. which is not a good thing for the Dr. Their Dr's. are not allowed to over book or to see pharmaceutical reps in between appointments unless they have the time between appointments. If the patient is late they will take another patient who is there ahead of the patient that is late but you will be told that when you come. And they will fit you in asap. If there is an emergency they will let you know up front. Or if the Dr. is delayed with another patient the nurse is supposed to let you know in the reception area. I love Kaiser. I rarely have to wait for an appointment.

When someone tells you that you have changed, it simply means you have stopped living your life their way.

deeva1300027215.7072118 PostsRegistered 1/8/2005stuck in the middle

After twenty minutes, I'm going to let someone know and then I'm leaving. Because even if they take you to an exam room, there's usually another extended wait before the doc comes in.

LouisaKay1300027347.5871769 PostsRegistered 12/17/2007

Until the nurse calls your name?

Perkup1300027412.0076551 PostsRegistered 12/24/2008

Most of the doctors we see (we're older) are really good about keeping their appointed times. A wait of 30 minutes is quite unusual. However, the pharmaceutical reps make life very hard for a lot of people. I've gone into a doctor's office in the past to find no patients ahead of me, but five pharm. reps. I realize they are trying to do a job, but seems to me that the physicians should set specific times for them when no patients are there.

Last time this happened, one of the female reps sat in the waiting room for over 40 minutes to see the doctor (her visit w/him lasted less than five minutes). But while she was in the waiting room she stayed on her cell phone, talking very loud, the whole time. I finally went over to her and asked her politely to please end the conversation. If looks could kill I would not be posting right now! BTW, she took her time about getting off so I made note of her company and filed a complaint with them. Received a very nice reply, which assured me that they had made policy forbidding reps too use a cell phone in a medical office in the future.

Last edited on 3/13/2011

Last edited on 3/13/2011

Frannie1300027510.4672080 PostsRegistered 9/27/2006

I think even an hour is wrong but it's understandable. Beyond that I'd reschedule. And if this happens every visit I'd switch doctors. Actually I did. My dr was a general surgeon in addition to being a general practitioner. He only had office appointments in the afternoon. But he always ran late - really late. As much as I loved him my time was too valuable and it was just too frustrating.

Liz_UMD1300027598.23410 PostsRegistered 8/26/2007

Was this a primary care doctor or a specialist? And how frequently do you need to see him/her?

A wait of 2-3 hours should be a rare occurance. Usually when a doctor is running late it's not due to double-booking or wasting time schmoozing in between appointments. Most doctors spend all day on their feet, harried, rushing from room to room. Things happen- patients show up late and/or unexpectedly with urgent issues, appointments run long because things come up requiring the doctor's extra time or attention, phone calls come in from other doctors or hospitals needing to confer about a patient, etc.

But that said- a wait as long as 2-3 hours should be a rare exception. If you go to this doctor on a regular basis and this kind of wait is the norm, then something is up. Their staff isn't scheduling efficiently or they aren't managing their time well.

One thing I wish people might keep in mind- if you're kept waiting for an appointment, it's not a matter of thinking that your time is less important than the doctor's time. Unless the doctor really is spending all that time playing computer games or chatting with his wife, it's more like other patients' time- and sometimes, yes, their time might be more valuable. It sounds cold but sometimes other patients have urgent needs and deserve the doctor's full attention even when that cuts into someone else's appointment. Be grateful that it's not you hearing a difficult diagnosis or sorting through several serious health issues at once. And hopefully when it's ever your turn to be in that position, the doctor will put your needs first too.

LuvAutumn1300027700.5171641 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Northeast Ohio

I can only remember one time in the last 20 years of seeing my doctor that I have had to wait over an hour. The receptionist was kind enough to inform me there would be a delay in seeing me and gave me the choice of waiting or rescheduling the next day. If my doctor is even 15 minutes late seeing me, he always says he is sorry for the wait. If you are going to be uncomfortable seeing her again maybe you could look for another doctor. Good luck to you.

~Luv~

barbados1300027730.18314405 PostsRegistered 5/21/2007
On 3/13/2011 Perkup said:

Most of the doctors we see (we're older) are really good about keeping their appointed times. A wait of 30 minutes is quite unusual. However, the pharmaceutical reps make life very hard for a lot of people. I've gone into a doctor's office in the past to find no patients ahead of me, but five pharm. reps. I realize they are trying to do a job, but seems to me that the physicians should set specific times for them when no patients are there.

Last time this happened, one of the female reps sat in the waiting room for over 40 minutes to see the doctor (her visit w/him lasted less than five minutes). But while she was in the waiting room she stayed on her cell phone, talking very loud, the whole time. I finally went over to her and asked her politely to please end the conversation. If looks could kill I would not be posting right now! BTW, she took her time about getting off so I made note of her company and filed a complaint with them. Received a very nice reply, which assured me that they had made policy forbidding reps too use a cell phone in a medical office in the future.

Last edited on 3/13/2011

You filed a complaint about her with her company? You couldn't have talked to her when she got off the phone. You had to complain to her company so there would possibly be a reprimand to her or worst yet getting her fired? I think you're more petty then the girl on the phone.

Skylands1300028076.26532 PostsRegistered 5/30/2010

Yes, it's very, very annoying & frustrating when MD appointments run past your scheduled time with them. 3 hours is inexcusable, unless unexpected emergency came.

This is what I would do: 1) call beforehand to see if the MD is running on time. 2) tell the office manager about your 3 hour wait and that it is rude and inexcusable, in a nice way.

Good luck!

portiemom1300028088.75755 PostsRegistered 11/9/2007

Good question....

I had to see an orthopedic surgeon a few years back,and they had a dry-erase board at the reception window that stated how far behind schedule the doctor was.It was 90 minutes when I arrived,and went to 2hrs while I was sitting waiting.

My fear is it's only gonna get worse when millions of more people are added to the healthcare system,but not millions of more doctors added........

panda

pearllady1300028159.5832967 PostsRegistered 4/8/2009PA

I agree almost 3 hrs. is a bit to long. Doctor have many things than can delay them. You should have asked the recep. if she (the Dr) was at the hospital on a call, or something. I don't mind waiting but I would never wait 3 hrs. You should have rescheduled if you were so upset. There were several times this happened where the Dr. was on a hospital call and was running really late BUT his nurse and recep. explained the problem and asked us if we wanted to reschedule or wait, some rescheduled and some waited. Never just sit there w/o finding out what is going on....

biancardi1300028245.30347273 PostsRegistered 11/7/2005

I would leave after an hour if I made an appointment for a specific time and just reschedule it.

now, a walk-in or ER, I wait.

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair. Douglas Adams

Photo Don­na1300028315.27314146 PostsRegistered 12/26/2005walking the dogs

If you like your doctor -- write a letter to him and talk to him about this. Otherwise -- start asking around for a recommendation for someone new.

This is totally unacceptable.

every 6 seconds a pet dies in a shelter -- adopt

Brinklii1300028531.8410278 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Northern WI

Carba ~~ I don't blame you for being angry. I'm a caregiver for my father too and know how little free time a caregiver has to her/himself. Once in a while, something can come up that can delay a physician for an extended period of time (e.g. an emergency). Also, as someone who just retired from the dental field, I can tell you that it is often hard to schedule a precise amount of time, because sometimes you just do not know what you are running into and can't stop in the middle of something. However, if you are often kept waiting more than 15-20 minutes, then you need to take action or start looking for another doctor. Here is what I did, and I would suggest you do it, although it takes guts for a lot of people to speak up to their doctors. Just remember: Doctors are just doing an occupation...just like everyone else. They are not God.

I am also a chronic pain sufferer and used to go to a pain doctor who would keep me waiting 2-3 hours every appointment. After about the third time, I wrote the doctor a letter (marked "personal") and told him how valuable everyone considers their time. I also told him that his behavior was viewed as arrogance by his patients because by constantly keeping his patients waiting to see him for hours at a time, he seemed to think his patients viewed him as God...which they do not. And...I clipped an article on how a physician should schedule appropriate amounts of time for patients with a little unscheduled time in the middle of the morning and afternoon for either emergencies or for catch up. I told him that he was costing his patients a lot of money besides what he charged, because people had to take time off work for these appointments and that the next time he kept me waiting more than 20 minutes, I was going to send him a bill for my time and find another doctor after that. I also told him not to play the little trick where the nurse puts you in a room, and then you wait an hour for the doctor.

The next time I went in, I was seen within 10 minutes by the doctor. He came in the room and jokingly said, "I got your message." I retorted, "Well that message applies to all your patients, not just me." He said that they were changing their scheduling system, which I know they did because I had a friend also going to him. Don't let your doctor intimidate you, Carba.

A tongue has no bones, yet it is strong enough to break a heart. Be careful with your words.

violann1300028909.7312962 PostsRegistered 12/12/2004

I wouldn't choose a doctor who wasn't popular with his patients. I have waited for a long time, but I always leave with the information I need to be healthier/feel better.




I didn't come here to argue.- Peg Bracken

Magenta1300028985.599585 PostsRegistered 11/4/2004washington, d.c.

very often, i know, my b-i-l a cardiologist, would leave home at 7, straight to the hospital to check on his pts. who had surgery previously. it is not unusual, that he starts later than 9, and then his whole day is messed up. although an insurance only plans on a 10 min. visit, that's not him, so he fights w/ins. comp. always so that he can properly talk to his pts, and in return they can take their time too to talk to him, and some need a lot of time... he is always known to take the side of the pts, at all times, when they are in to see him.

also in most drs. offs. cells are prohibited. if you need a prescription, send a fax 24-48 hrs in advance with all the particulars, and in most cases the prescriptions will be waiting for you as you arrive. most of my drs. offcs. work that way.

most drs. are so busy that there is never time for lunch, or for that matter, don't leave often until 7 p.m. and my b-il again often stops by at the hosp. again to ascertain that all is going smoothly and if a prescription is needed. he will take care of that right there, instead of doing that per phone later on at home.

my surgeon, a few months ago, had scheduled me for breast surgery for one hour, she didn't finish until nearly 2 1/2 hours later, so she was 1 1/2 hr off. apparently she removed areas that were extremely important, and were unforseen, so i was a thankful recipient, but at the same token, the next surgery was certainly 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. late. this surgeon is a top surgeon at Georgetown Univ. Hosp. (where they also work with students) so matters like this do matter if you are waiting. cut the doctors some slack and know they too want to be on time. althoug being more than an hour late i too would have problems with to accept.

good luck, but remember for prescriptions to drop the pertinent info off 48 hrs in advance, or send a fax, that makes a huge difference for a doctor's office. and discuss it with the secy in advance if that's what should be done.

magenta

saversmom1300030880.995844 PostsRegistered 5/10/2009
On 3/13/2011 barbados said:
On 3/13/2011 Perkup said:

Most of the doctors we see (we're older) are really good about keeping their appointed times. A wait of 30 minutes is quite unusual. However, the pharmaceutical reps make life very hard for a lot of people. I've gone into a doctor's office in the past to find no patients ahead of me, but five pharm. reps. I realize they are trying to do a job, but seems to me that the physicians should set specific times for them when no patients are there.

Last time this happened, one of the female reps sat in the waiting room for over 40 minutes to see the doctor (her visit w/him lasted less than five minutes). But while she was in the waiting room she stayed on her cell phone, talking very loud, the whole time. I finally went over to her and asked her politely to please end the conversation. If looks could kill I would not be posting right now! BTW, she took her time about getting off so I made note of her company and filed a complaint with them. Received a very nice reply, which assured me that they had made policy forbidding reps too use a cell phone in a medical office in the future.

Last edited on 3/13/2011

You filed a complaint about her with her company? You couldn't have talked to her when she got off the phone. You had to complain to her company so there would possibly be a reprimand to her or worst yet getting her fired? I think you're more petty then the girl on the phone.

Do you know that pharmaceutical reps make appointments to see the docs? The reps are the people who bring front line information to the offices so that doctors do not have to leave the offices to learn about new drugs?

Do you know that pharmaceutical reps provide the free samples of meds for patients to try at no cost?

I agree that complaining to the rep's company was petty. When did we forget how to simply talk to each other?

gidgetgoes­hawaiian1300030963.2210429 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 3/13/2011 Photo Donna said:

If you like your doctor -- write a letter to him and talk to him about this. Otherwise -- start asking around for a recommendation for someone new.

This is totally unacceptable.

I agree. No way would I wait that long. I'm paying them for a service and I expect them to be on time or close to on time. No way would I re-schedule either. That inconveniences me even more. I had a dermatologist appt last year-first time. They got me in the back and there I sat, wrapped in a sheet, for 50 minutes. I finally partially opened the door and looked out till I saw a nurse. I told her I'd been sitting ther, in a sheet for 50 minutes and that I was giving the doctor 5 more minutes and I was leaving and going to someone else. He came in and apologized and I made it clear to him that my time was valuable and was to be respected. And that if they'd had an emergency, they should have come and updated me instead of let me sit there. He hasn't done that to me again.

Blondilocks1300031057.0673856 PostsRegistered 3/13/2007Home

As a nurse in a doctors office I can tell you the other side of the story. Frequently we get people who call and need to be seen emergently so we have to put them in the schedule. Also we get the "talkers" the annoying people who take 5 minutes for the medical issue and then try to talk to the doctor about everything else under the sun as the nurse it is my job to get these people out of the office without being rude (a difficult task for sure) I have worked for docs that run 2 hrs behind and have also been a patient for docs that run 2 hours behind and my advice would be if it happens all the time change doctors if it happens once in a while if you like your doctor stick with them.

straitgirl1300031293.78321961 PostsRegistered 7/29/2006

The longest I've ever waited is 10-15 min max. I would not wait 3 hrs. If my gyn had an emergency they would call me at home & reschedule for later in the day or the next.

RedTop1300031386.2434755 PostsRegistered 9/1/2010

I am willing to wait patiently for one hour; anything over that totally annoys me. My physician does not round in the hospital; he just sees patients in his office. While he is thorough and does not rush me, I also feel his appointments should be scheduled to fit his hours to where no one has a lengthy wait. Many times I schedule my appointments with his PA, because she seems to get patients in and out much faster than the doctor.

VioletEyes1300031400.0613180 PostsRegistered 2/11/2009

I try to make the first appointment of the day so I don't have a long wait. I schedule well enough in advance that this is possible with routine office visits. However, life happens and I try to be patient knowing fully well that my doctor may have been up all night tending to a patient.

Usually if there is a problem where a doctor is constantly late it is because the office staff fits in emergencies. Considering the fact that we all have them, I would prefer my doctor to be late than to not see me if I have one to keep on time. Flexibility is important in the relationship between doctor and patient. I like knowing that I can be fit in if I need to be.

lenapecci1300032249.683229 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

I have quit going to 3 doctors due to this. It was not once in awhile. This was every time I had an appt. One doctor said to me well my time is valuable, I said so is mine and I do not get paid for sitting in your waiting room for 3-4 hours. The look on her face was priceless.

I have found more qualified doctors who do not keep their patients waiting. And they do not have the God complex. They actually listen to me when I talk and ask questions.

My neurologist was 5 mins late on my last visit and he kept apologizing.

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