These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Waiting Room Dynamics

Is the system broken?

I went to my doctor’s office the other day.  I sat in the “waiting room” for over an hour and a half.  This is a medical group consisting of 6 different “providers” – 4 doctors, a PA and a NP.  When I got there, the room was full.  I have no idea how many of the docs were seeing patients that day.  It was mid afternoon. 

I watched patients come in to the window, sign in and sit down.  I could tell they had the routine down. 

One man came in complaining about the cost of his wife’s medication.  She had been on several different medications.  This one seems to be working better, but cost $136 per month.  After some conversation in the back, there were no samples, but they were going to call him later to see if they could either authorize it with his insurance company or find a less expensive medication.  This entire conversation took place in front of everyone in the “waiting room”.  He was not taken back to a more private area where this could be discussed.  The only things I don’t know are his wife’s name and the name of the medication.

Then one of MY patients came in with her significant other.  She wasn’t feeling well.  I guess she hadn’t called ahead.  She went to the window and said she needed to be seen.  She described her symptoms.  A staff member came out from the back.  At first she was scolded for driving herself.  When they found out she had a ride, they told her that she needed to go to the emergency room and loaded her back in the car.  She was there less than 5 minutes.  I hear she spent 6 hours in the ER. 

A pharmaceutical rep came in, took one look, and offered to come back another day.   The woman at the window did manage to get a signature so he could leave samples. 

There wasn’t a lot of conversation in the waiting room, even though it was packed.   There was complaining about how long people had waited.  One person had been there over an hour when I got there.  I settled in for a long wait.

 I did talk with a lovely woman who works for home health about some of the problems with “the system”.  She had waited 4 months for an appointment.  She ran out of medication, then had an issue with the office staff because she needed a refill.  I think the system is broken.  At least in that office.

1 comment:

Nurse K said...

This is what it was like when I went to a clinic associated with the university...The doctors all lectured, taught umpteen med students and residents, saw patients in the hospital (whether or not they had patients scheduled that day for the clinic), and were endlessly stuck in some sort of procedure somewhere. I waited two hours my first time, 2.5 hours my second time, then I was done.