Waiting on Doctors

Why can’t they meet you on time?

One of the most uninviting places to visit has to be a Doctor’s office.  First, we normally go there because we have a pain or suffer from some ailment which doesn’t put us in the best of moods to begin with, but to add insult to injury, you have to contend with the peculiarities of the doctor’s office staff, a very cold group of workers who are more concerned with processing you like an order as opposed to treating you like a human-being.  On your first visit to a doctor’s office, you are bombarded with a substantial amount of paperwork in triplicate, which I guess we have to thank our attorney friends for.  I visited a new doctor recently and was overwhelmed by the paperwork.  There were more waivers of rights than there was anything pertaining to my medical history.  I felt like I was in an attorney’s office as opposed to a doctor’s.

I’m generally pretty healthy, so when the forms asked me to list the various ailments I’ve suffered with over the years, I answer, “No, No,  No,  No,  No,  No,  No,…,” you get the idea.  They then ask about my dependency on alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sex, etc., to which I usually reply, “Gee, doesn’t everybody?,” which doesn’t amuse the office staff.  The fact I answer, “No,” so many times makes them skeptical of my answers, to which they call be back to the office window for further interrogation.

The decor of doctor offices are basically the same which is pretty plain, with outdated or irrelevant magazines to read, and a whiff of isopropyl alcohol in the air.  I find patients in the waiting room tend to keep to themselves and do not like to engage in conversation, maybe because they’re embarrassed by their ailment or maybe because they only speak a foreign language.  When you try to strike up a conversation with someone, they look at you like they are being interrogated by the FBI or border patrol.

On the walls of the office are the doctor’s degrees and certificates which are intended to impress you.  Some doctors tend to overdue it though as they frame everything from their college degree to their safety patrol or bar mitzvah certificates.

I guess what irritates me the most though is making an appointment with a doctor which he or she rarely keeps.  If I’ve got an appointment, medical or otherwise, I tend to arrive a few minutes early as I do not like to be late.  However, doctors’ really do not value your time, even when you take time off from work to visit them.  I’ve got a problem with this as I wouldn’t treat my customers this way.  If you cannot meet me on time, tell me up-front so I can make other arrangements, but do not take my time for granted.  I might understand a couple of minutes delay due to another patient, but 15, 30, 45, or 60 minute delays?  NFW.

If the doctor is late, my impatience slowly brews until I can’t take it anymore and storm out of the office (I’ve done this on more than one occasion), and frankly, I wish more people would do likewise.  The office staff then tries to threaten you that they will still bill you for the appointment, which is actually a veiled threat.  I just point out the time to them, tell them I had a verbal contract to meet with the doctor at a given time, and since he/she failed to appear on time, threaten to bill them for my lost time.  I just can’t figure out why after practicing medicine for so long, they can’t make a simple schedule and keep it.  Everybody else does.  To me, its a sign of disrespect.

Doctors are not alone in terms of having poorly run offices; Dentists are just as guilty, but the only thing worse than a doctor’s office has to a hospital, which even the doctors describe as, “One of the unhealthiest places on Earth.”

Keep the Faith!

SHARE
Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and management consultant located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. As an avid writer and speaker, Tim discusses everything from business and management, to politics and morality, to systems and technology, and our ever changing world.