HomeAt the Doctor's OfficeFive Reasons Why Your Doctor is Always Late

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Five Reasons Why Your Doctor is Always Late — 11 Comments

  1. But this happens ALL the time. I cannot ever remember being seen on time. Even if I have an early appointment.

    Why don’t doctors leave more open space for these issues?

    • Steve, I know it can be very frustrating. Some offices are better than others. Appointment scheduling is not done by the doctor and if your doctors work for a health system as opposed to an independently owned private practice, they likely have very little input or influence regarding the schedule. Often doctors are double or triple booked, which is a recipe for disaster in terms of time management, but it also allows them to see the patients that need to be seen in a given day. That being said, my former PCP always saw me on time. I have no idea how he did it.

  2. Not until I worked a nurse in a surgical practice did I fully understand how quickly the day’s scheduling can run off the rails. We had three surgeons. One of them would see any of his patients no matter how late they were. Another (with a military background) would see his patients only in the order that they were scheduled, no matter what order they arrived in. And the third would see whoever was present and ready to be seen. All it took was a couple of late patients and the day went to hell in a handbasket.

    Ever since that stint, I show up at least 20 minutes early for my appts. More often than not, I’m brought back early.

  3. I’m very sympathetic, but it is tough sometimes as the patient. My OBGYN is ALWAYS behind and my quick prenatal check where I see the doctor for less than 10 minutes always results in me having to call out of work for at least 2 hours. I’m trying to save my PTO for maternity leave so this is definitely problematic for me. I’m lucky that I do have one weekday off that I can schedule my appointments for but then that means I have to bring my son who is barely even 2 years old and make him sit in the office with me for 2 hours while he runs around, gets into things, and whines because he is bored and restless. Having an engaged doctor does make up for it a bit but when you’re being followed for something like pregnancy where you are coming in frequently it gets old real quick.

  4. I see my doctor four times a year. I have never arrived at my doctor’s office later than ten minutes before my appointment. Every time I go, I book the next visit. I have a 50% policy. If I’m seen within 30 minutes of my appointment time, I consider that “on time.” If the on time percentage for any one-year period drops below 50%, I’m finding another doctor for my next visit.

    Yes, 31 minutes is late. You have to draw the line somewhere. I’m aware that some may think it unfair. Life is unfair. If I am 30 minutes late, I’m a no-show at most clinics and will get billed. I hold the pedigreed professional to the same standard to which he holds me.

  5. Certainly someone has done some serious consideration to this problem. There has to be an answer. Would it be fair to say that doctors are sometimes overbooking.?
    This is especially hard on people who already are feeling badly.
    If I were in the medical Profession I would not be able to make people wait so long without it bothering my conscience

    • Jane, most doctors have little control over their daily schedule. I remember being consistently overbooked when I worked for a large HMO at the beginning of my career. There are algorithms used by most doctor’s offices that take into account no-show rates, etc. Of course, the primary goal of these algorithms is to maximize revenue, which is not patient-centered at all. I agree with you that it’s a hard pill to swallow (pun intended) when you are already feeling badly. This is yet another example of our broken healthcare system.

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