Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ways to Avoid Long Wait Times at the Doctor

Some people hate visiting their doctor because they fear something may be wrong with them, while others feel uncomfortable discussing problems with their health. However, more and more people are dreading making visits to their doctor because of the long wait times they experience in waiting rooms and even after they are called into a private room. This ordeal is especially frustrating for patients making frequent visits to a doctor’s office for prenatal or some other type of specialized care. Many patients have had to wait over two hours to be seen by their physician as a result of over-booking, making a routine visit to a doctor into an annoying, drawn out affair. However, there are some ways to get around this torturous experience, some of which allow you to shorten wait times and keep your current doctor.

When stuck in a waiting room for an extended period of time, it is not unlikely that a person will notice others around them and how long they have been waiting to be called in. If everyone in the waiting room is experiencing the same delay, making it known may help the situation. Complaints from several patients will most likely have a greater effect than if one person complains, so multiple comments or letters expressing frustration about wait times may spark a change in the way the office schedules appointments and manages the physician’s time. Another tip patients should follow is to never wait more than 15 minutes after signing in to ask the receptionist when you should be called or if you have been forgotten about. By doing this, the office staff may be prompted to keep the doctor on schedule and follow the order of patient appointments more carefully. When scheduling a doctor’s appointment, it may be helpful to ask the receptionist for the first appointment in the morning or the first appointment after lunch, if these times are available. This will guarantee that no one is waiting ahead of you, so the doctor will see you as soon as he arrives at the office. Some offices experience busy days and not-so-busy days, so it may also be helpful to ask the person scheduling your appointment if the office has a normal day during the week where there are fewer patients coming in than others. It may also be helpful to avoid seeing your doctor on school holidays if the doctor also sees children. These tips can help cut down on annoying wait times and allow you to continue seeing your current physician.

If none of these methods work, a less convenient option is to switch doctors all together. Some doctor’s offices are set in their ways and are probably beyond repair, so no complaint, letter or smart planning will improve those painfully long wait times. Ask friends and family to recommend a good physician that has short wait times so that visiting a doctor is not so unbearable. Still, for those patients that don’t plan on switching doctors and have not had any success with complaints or clever scheduling tricks, the only option may be to sit and wait. But, come prepared with a book, magazine or laptop to pass the hours you may need to wait. Extended wait times may only be a hassle for patients seeing doctors for regular check-ups or follow-up visits, however, for patients in need of immediate medical care, a long wait may be the difference between life and death. Delays in treatment at hospital emergency rooms can cause additional injury or death to those in need of urgent medical attention. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of the neglect of a doctor or hospital, you have the right to compensation for your suffering. Schedule a free medical malpractice consultation and case evaluation with the attorneys at Silberstein, Awad, and Miklos, P.C. We serve clients with Bronx malpractice, Brooklyn malpractice, Queens malpractice, Nassau malpractice and Suffolk malpractice cases.

Call us toll-free 1-877-ASK4SAM and visit

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