Monday, April 19, 2010

The "Waiting" Room ?

   What is a reasonable period of time to keep a patient waiting? I recently took my 4 year old son to an opthalmologist, who kept us waiting over an hour. Our appointment was at 1:00 and we were taken into the treatment room (which also turned out to be a "waiting" room) a little after 2:00. It was at least another 10 minutes before the doctor appeared. What sort of mood to you think my 4 year old was in by then?
   No one would tolerate such a delay with a restaurant reservation or when bringing a car in for service. Why do some doctors consider this normal? Why do some offices run continuously late, whereas others are able to run on time? There is rarely a good excuse for keeping patients waiting an inordinate amount of time. 
Staff should be trained to consider the patient's feelings when scheduling appointments. The goal can not be to cram as many patients in as possible. Visiting a dentist's office is often a stressful event. A caring and helpful scheduling procedure will make the whole office run more efficiently.