|Only a Fifteen Minute Doctors Visit?|
The fifteen minute appointment seems to be a standard among all my doctors these days. Whenever I call in to schedule an appointment, I only get the option of having fifteen minutes with the doctor. I am a person with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and problems with my thyroid. I see a regular doctor and an endocrinologist for my hyperthyroidism.
My personal patient experience, however, is the fifteen minutes is a misconception. I often have to wait for a period of time much longer than that to see my doctor. There are times my doctors may be running as much as an hour behind schedule.
Where have they been for all that time? Come to find out, they have been "double booking" their patients, in order to see more in a day. When I asked about this once, I was told it was necessary, because they were not paid a salary on anything. They got only a small portion of each visit. As my doctor so quaintly put it, "I gotta eat what I kill."
When my doctors actually come into the room, there is certainly no indication that they have been rushed through their day. My last visit to my regular doctor, I think he was in the room a whopping 3 minutes. Most of that time, he had his hand on the handle of the door, ready to shoot back out the door. I had come in for a sinus infection, and he did check that out.
But I also had some other questions about my blood pressure and cholesterol. I wanted to discuss the aspects of trying out the Mediterranean Diet. The answer I got really shocked me, though. He said, "Yeah that's not a bad diet, safe enough." I wanted to ask another question, and he interrupted to tell me that I would need to schedule another appointment, if I really wanted to go into depth on the subject. Today, he just had time to treat the sinus infection.
Does that make sense to anyone else? I had a fifteen minute, scheduled appointment. It may have taken an extra minute to write me a prescription of an antibiotic. What happened to the other 10 minutes?
This is the state of healthcare in the world today. Doctors are busier than ever, or so they say, just to try to make enough money to stay even with previous years. Now I don't begrudge my doctor a good living. After all, they went to school, and racked up a big debt to be a doctor. It just seems a shame that they feel they have to see so many patients so quickly, just to make a living.
I could have been an e-patient and had him treat the sinus infection over an email conversation, and only paid $35 dollars for the visit. Instead, I paid almost that much for the privilege of waiting in the office for my 5 minutes. That's bunk.
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