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What's Up Doc?
updated: Feb 07, 2013, 8:30 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Question: Has anyone else wondered why medical doctors pack so many people into their lobby, it ends up taking two hours to get in and out.. and you only end up spending a total of 5 minutes with your doctor? This just happened to us today. Being a business owner, my first thought is IF I treated my clients this way, I would lose most of my clients. Why do people endure it with doctors? Why don't doctors show more respect to their patients and just be more thoughtful when setting appointments? With some effective planning, I would hope that only 30 minutes is spent in their lobby for that 5 minute face to face. People would sure feel better about their overall experience there.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 372067 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-07 08:51 PM

I dunno, went to the Doc's today, arrived early, barely sat down and was called in, Doc spent 15 min with me and personally set up another appt to address tests and complex issues---I'm very satisfied! (Sansum Clinic)


 COMMENT 372070 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-07 08:55 PM

I make my appointments for first thing in the morning and am usually in and out quickly.


 COMMENT 372076 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-07 09:17 PM

My doctor is at Sansum and I never wait and she spends plenty of time talking with me. You need a new doctor. I recommend one of the doctor rating sites, where patients rate wait time, bedside manner, etc. and they also include info like whether the physician is board certified. Here are some links: www.vitals.com, www.healthgrades.com, and www.ratemds.com. Good luck.


 COMMENT 372078P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-07 09:31 PM



 COMMENT 372080P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-07 09:37 PM

Probably because there is nothing wrong with you. Pray you never have to spend hours in the office as they try to keep you alive for a few short years.


 COMMENT 372083P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-07 11:28 PM

Who is your doctor, Dat...?


 COMMENT 372091 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 06:13 AM

I agree; I get plenty of time with my doctors. Time to look for someone new.


 COMMENT 372093P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 06:22 AM

Yeah, Sansum is amazing, I've never waited longer than 10 minutes to see my Dr., usually barely have time to sit down and they take the time to talk to me and listen. If you're Dr. is too busy for you then they don't deserve your business


 COMMENT 372100 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 06:54 AM

I took my son to Sansum Urgent Care last week. We waited 3-1/2 hours to see a doctor. The waiting room was full of coughing and very sick people crammed together. The exams rooms are dirty and not kept up. It was a horrible experience.


 COMMENT 372117 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:26 AM

Urgent Care is like an ER with first come, first served. That's where you go Saturday morning when you've been sick all night or wake up with a killer earache. That's not where you go shopping for a regular doctor. In fact, if you have a regular doctor at Sansum and do need urgent care, sometimes the fantastic triage nurses can squeeze you in with your doctor that day. Considering every one in town is sick with flu and sinus infections, I'm not surprised Urgent Care had a long wait. They've probably been very busy. My pharmacy said they've been selling Z Pacs at lightening speed this season. I found my doctor 2 years ago by searching the website I posted for board certified internists with high patient ratings and who were taking new patients. I understand my doctor no longer takes new patients.


 COMMENT 372118 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:26 AM

In general, I get to see my doc on time or slightly early when I come in with an appointment, and never feel shortchanged on the amount of time I get to spend with him. Same applied to the woman I saw before my current doc. If I walk in unannounced, I can sit there for an hour or more. Blame much of this on the collected rules of various health care provider groups that most of the doc's in town are a part of. Very efficient for the doctor, but not always so good for the patient. If we ever get to a true single payer health system, expect things to get a little bit worse as the rules become more extensive and more rigorously enforced. Of course if you go with one of the few independant doc's in town, you get red-carpet service all the time at a premium price, and probably little to no coverage from your insurance plan if ya got's one.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:28 AM

I agree w/other posters, you need a new doctor. I never have that experience. There have been times I had to wait awhile in the exam room, but then the doctor spent plenty of time, explained things, etc. Figured I waited because he did that with his other patients as well.


 COMMENT 372122 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:29 AM

First world problem, we are lucky to have access to medical care.


 COMMENT 372123P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:29 AM

I had similar experiences when taking my babies in for shots. Usual wait time was an hour at least. 30 or so in the waiting room, and then at least another 1/2 hour in the tiny little exam room. It was hell with a rowdy toddler and who know how many germs they are exposed to because you can't keep a kid off the floor for that long of time. I've often wondered the same thing.


 COMMENT 372124P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:33 AM

Doctors have people come into their offices who may need admitting to hospitals that day (phone calls, paperwork) or other patient appointments that for one reason or another take longer than anticipated. One doctor I used to have (a wonderful woman who spent as much time as she needed with the "whole" patient) used to run late (this in the days before the bean counters took over) and I always called in advance to see if she was running late. Otherwise, I take a book and am grateful for the chance to sit and read....


 COMMENT 372135 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:50 AM

In answer to your question: While the office is happy to make the appointment for your they cannot predict the consequences of the day.

One never knows what is going on in the rooms behind. One day I had an appointment and waited over an hour. There was a small child inside taking all the attention from the Doctor and his staff. The kid had cut himself badly. He was struggling and screaming the whole time they tried to stitch him up and console him and his parents as well. This might have been a good time for a trip to the Emergency and not the doctor's office.


 COMMENT 372138 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 07:57 AM

I have a great Dr at Sansum, he will spend as much time as necessary and has helped me through several health issues.

We used the walk in 2 weeks ago for my son, and yes it was busy, but it was clean and we had excellent care, we got there early and total time was 1 hr.

Everyone is sick in the waiting room because it is a clinic, I am not sure how they can limit the amount of sick people but if you are there later in the day, I am sure it is not as clean as 1st thing...sick people usually being less concerned with being neat


 COMMENT 372148 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 08:14 AM

I have that problem with certain doctors and not with others. My dermatologist is the best in town but he thinks his time is worth more than his patients' (and I keep coming back, even though I spend 45-55 minutes in the waiting room every single time). A doctor is going to keep his exam rooms full so he can pop in and out and see 6 -12 patients an hour for maximum income generation. And don't think they are working 40 hour weeks either, most doctors are working 3 or 4 days, many work only one! Methodically ask for appointments on different week days and you will find this out.


 COMMENT 372160 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 08:39 AM

People schedule appts with their doctor when something they have turns serious. By the time they get there, the doctor has to spend extra time with the very ill patient. Or they are in surgery, wait time is: go home and come back or stay and wait an hour or two. Very few doctors serve a whole lot of people.


 COMMENT 372171 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 08:56 AM

Is this the Sansum appreciation board? Anywho. From the pure point of business 101, if any time you can get people to line up for your proudct or service, you do so. Sometimes it's longer for the reasons of schedule issues and emergencies, but other times it is disorganization and disrespect. Scout it out, get a feel and decide if what you're getting is worth the time and price. Be objective. Make suggestions if you wish.


 COMMENT 372183 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 09:27 AM

Perhaps the OP need to learn to make an appointment, and to stop whining if one was not made.

Try taking your car into a shop to get fixed, without an appointment. You'll be waiting a lot longer than 2 hours for sure.


 COMMENT 372185 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 09:31 AM

I tried Dr. Garofalo on Patterson, 10 am appt, at 10:45 I gave paperwork back and went to work. Nobody even visited to say anything. Called a few weeks later for a very early appt., they said "We threw your paperwork away, you"ll have to do it again", I said "Cancel my appt. I've just thrown you away". At 10 am, there were 6 people waiting in her office. Doctors are a waste of time somedays.


 COMMENT 372186 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 09:33 AM

"In fact, if you have a regular doctor at Sansum and do need urgent care, sometimes the fantastic triage nurses can squeeze you in with your doctor that day."

HA! I'd love to know what meds you are on, that this is your perception of how it works at Sansum.

They are only open half-days on Fridays. My doc is also only available now half-time (kids and family, you know). Getting reassigned to a new doc is not an option because they are all taken.

Guess you got the lucky draw!


 JUKINJAY agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 09:36 AM

Wait time for me at the regular Sansum isn't a problem for checkups, even when scheduled a year in advance. The big problem is if I'm sick and need to see a doc. Getting past the gatekeeper to get an appointment with my regular doc in less than two weeks is a huge hassle. Big third-degree questioning and they make you feel like they're doing you a favor to take you sooner than a month out. By the time the appointment rolls around I'm either better or so sick I have to suffer the long wait and room full of screaming brats at Urgent Care.


 COMMENT 372190 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 09:39 AM

There have been some times over the years where I was waiting WELL past my appointment time. If it was because the doctor had an emergency, I kept my mouth shut.

However, one time it was clear that I was waiting only because of the office's practice of double-booking appointments, and the doctor was running behind. When I could wait no longer I got up, POLITELY rescheduled the appointment, and left.

When I returned a week or so later for my rescheduled appointment, the doctor was well aware of what had happened, and the first thing he did was apologize.


 COMMENT 372198 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 09:53 AM

Unfortunately, I do not schedule my illness. Sansum Urgent Care is frequently bad. I recently arrived to see a posted 2 hour wait time but I waited 4 hours to be seen. It often takes three weeks or longer to get an appointment with a regular doctor. When I have an appointment the wait time is reasonable. It is going to get much worse with additional qualified patients and fewer doctors.


 COMMENT 372202 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 09:59 AM

A Dermatologist is hardly an emergency situation. He should be able to promptly attend to his patients. A walk in clinic can become a war zone by the end of the day.

And these Doctors and their staff work hard.


 COMMENT 372227 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 10:37 AM

Last time I called for a Dr appt I was told it would be two weeks before I could get in. Is it any wonder I end up at Urgent care?
If I call to see the doctor, I think it's serious. In two weeks I'll either be better or alot worse. Regular doctor appointments are a joke in this town.


 COMMENT 372259P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 11:21 AM

My docs now spend 50% of their time with me typing in medical records 25% of the time using my searches on the Internet for the diagnosis, and 25% trying new thinking on their own. Not impressive.


 COMMENT 372266 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 11:26 AM

Three years ago my husband was in agony with severe abdominal pains. Our Doctor took him at once. The next thing we knew my husband was a code blue with a burst appendix heading to Cottage in a very fast ambulance.


 COMMENT 372295 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 12:17 PM

It's taken a little time to train all my doctors (and dentist)and their staff that I DO NOT WAIT LONGER THAN 15 MINUTES! I walk out of the office if they take longer. I now get the first appt. of the day or the last. My time is just as expensive as their time except for my neurosugeon (Zauner). I'd wait as long as it takes to see him.


 COMMENT 372296 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 12:17 PM

148: Or you could ask what days the doctor works when you make an appointment. You don't have to be sneaky about it, they should just tell you. 6-12 pts an hour is ridiculous unless it's all follow ups. And even then, only 6/hour is really feasible - you can't chart & see the pt & do everything you need to in 5 minutes - 5 for the pt, 5 to talk to the MA, chart, & get in & out is quick, but doable - 5 min for all that is impossible. If you see 12 people in the waiting room, unless the doc is running crazy behind or multiple docs/MAs/estetians/whatevers are seeing people, you might want to switch. SB has a bunch of excellent Derms. And just because they don't see pts 40 hours/week doesn't mean they don't work 40+ hours a week. My boss works 3 or 4 days a week now, but she stays until 7 or 8 some nights calling pts and charting. And she comes in on her off days to read slides & catch up.


 COMMENT 372370 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 03:17 PM

Insurance salespeople run the medical area.


 COMMENT 372381 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-08 03:37 PM

Agree with most people...depends on the doctor. My doctor has his own private practice (Dr. Ashley) and I have no complaints after 5+ years with him. He'll spend as much time with you as you want, never pushy, always attentive and even cracks jokes. I remember once he had an emergency patient come in before me and I had to wait about an hour so I was there after 5pm. He apologized and so did his staff (several times) and stayed late so I could keep the appointment and not have to come back. I used to be with Sansum and I've had to wait hours for appointments, which took weeks to even get an appointment, and have 3 different doctors see me at different times and spend 5 minutes at the MOST talking with me. So, I highly recomment Dr. Ashley. He's wonderful and right next to SB Cottage on one of the side streets.


 COMMENT 372573 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 11:08 AM

More about Sansum Clinic. If you need to see an eye specialist plan to wait for at least an hour. And this is if you make an early morning appt. Wait times have definitely increased significantly since the files are all computerized. The long wait times are really hard on many of the elderly patients.


 COMMENT 372696 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 06:44 PM

My ObGyn, who I've had for 30 years and consider my primary care doc NEVER keeps me waiting more than 5 minutes. And I never go to Sansum Urgent Care.......use other Med Ctr on upper State near CVS..... Much better


 COMMENT 372786 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 07:23 AM

I recommend Dr. Kupperman. spends as much time as needed and never a long wait.


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