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Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Appointment time should mean something

Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2008, at 10:03 PM

An appointment should be a two-way street.

I made a appointment last week to have my car serviced Monday at a specific time.

Upon arrival at the corect time I was informed it would be an hour and a half to two hours because a lot of other cusomers were arriving at the same time.

Why bother to make an appointment if it means nothing?

Maybe I'm being too rough but my time is also valuable right now with loads of medical appointments.

I'll get my car serviced elsewhere. And if I purchase another car it will also be elsewhere.

Have you had similar experiences where you, as a customer, was essentially ignored?


Comments
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Everytime I go to the doctor it is like that . . they make such a big deal about making an appointment and being on time but yet every time I go, I always wait anwhere from 30 minutes to an hour and they are never that busy. I dont understand . . . I should get a discount when that happens.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Jul 8, 2008, at 10:26 PM

jaxspike

I am amazed they don't start charging extra for storage for using their waiting room...:>)

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Jul 8, 2008, at 11:07 PM

Ask nicely:

1. When you will be seen.

2. If it is not an urgent matter,when you could be rescheduled.

3. If it is urgent and they can't deal with it,would they please arrange a referral to someone appropriate.

4. If they want you to just come back whenever,ask them to give you a written statement that delay would not pose a problem.

5.For all the time that you have to be there (with no accommodations made),charge them for your missed work,transportation cost,child-care,etc.

(You can subtract this from your payment and include an itemization.)

A professional will put your well-being first and tell you if an emergency or unexpected glitch interferes with you getting proper service.

Often,you will be charged if you miss an appointment,don't pick up a vehicle on time or aren't at home for a scheduled service call.

If you have to pay for "burn runs",so should they when the customer is unnnecessarily inconvenienced.

(At least.cars are not generally taken in right away,stripped,then left to shiver on the lift for days until the mechanic stops by to check their brakes and transmission.)

It wouldn't hurt to charge exam room time,either.

A well person should not be kept twiddling his thumbs forever nor should a sick or injured person be subjected to others' germs while waiting for relief.

There will be enough time spent waiting for exam results,treatment,etc. whether the patient is human or not.

Scheduled appointments should give the person doing the fixing all the necessary details ahead of time so they'll be prepared to address concerns and ask questions immediately upon the client's arrival.

Walk-ins should not expect everything to be dropped for them unnecessarily.

Where there is no crucial work needed,an over-extended professional should contact clients ahead of time and ask if they would like to set up a better time for all concerned.

Barring an unexpected crisis,clients should be on time and the professionals should have enough workers to deal with all customers in a thorough and timely manner.

There is no excuse for preventable over-booking, tail-dragging or ignoring the customer by the pros or the support staff.

If there's no mutual respect,it's better to part company and take one's business elsewhere.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 2:19 AM

This burns my buns more than anything!! Doctors and Dentists have always felt their time is much more valuable than yours. I went to the dentist the other day and it took 1.5 hours to get a small cavity filled. They think that by sticking a small T.V. with headphones in the room, they are justified in booking 4 or 5 people for the same time slot.

Now Doctors......Don't even get me started. First you wait out front for up to an hour, then your name is finally called. This only means you get to wait in the "little room" for another half an hour. I would LOVE to pull a George Castanza on these people and actually bill them for the amount of MY TIME that is wasted waiting on them! It's not as if they aren't well compensated by my insurance company who by the way has doubled my co-pay and increased my premium each of the last three years. But that's a whole different topic!

-- Posted by tgreader on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 7:17 AM

Look everyone, we pay these people money we earned.I do not hire anyone, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, or mechanics that I don't interview first..

These people are our employees just like at work.

If they cannot preform the tasks we pay them for, you need to know that up front and they need to know up front what is expected of them...All of the profesionals I have hired to do this special kind of work understand this.

As well as understand, I will fire them when they do such stupid things as overbook and try to tell me to wait..

So far, this has worked very well for me and I do not wait to be seen and taken care of on time.

The other side of the coin, you must always be prompt to your appointments with them,

Works very well for me. They are no different as human beings than we are and sometimes need to be told that..

If they lie to you up front about their service then fire them and find someone that doesn"t..

They need the job just like we do...

If you pay for it, get what you paid for.....It's your money....

-- Posted by wayner58 on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 12:12 PM

Wayner58,

Your post is very impressive to me. I am married and have four teenagers in my house, so doctor and dentist visits are very numerous. Each child is involved in more than one sport, so we also get the opportunity to occasionally see sports therapist or other specialist on occasion. If I "fired" every one of them that caused us to wait an extended length of time, I'd already be visiting my third or fourth State, seeking service.

Although by theory your post sounds good, it isn't very realistic. If you are indeed able to attend a physicians office with any regularity and avoid delays then you are either much wealthier than I am or must be very famous. I don't see anyone walk into the offices my families goes to and be immediately admitted.

-- Posted by Mike Molder on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 1:09 PM

These "employees" aren't all selfish fools.

The good ones will work to accommodate customers as best they can-just as good customers will be flexible and not act as if the practice was opened for their benefit alone.

It doesn't hurt for either side to insist on respectful behavior.

There are too many decent clients around to require professionals to cater to the boorish and one might as well "fire" unsatisfactory workers because their poor attitudes will put them out of business anyway.

We need to demand quality service and be willing to support it by mature conduct and enough money to pay for their skill and overhead.

The ones worth going to won't be asking us to bleed ourselves dry to finance their next luxury item and they won't steal our scant ration of time,either.

P.S. tgreader,there is a superb dentist near Feldhaus Funeral Home and Wal-Mart.

(It's the mustard-y colored building with the ramp tucked at the back of the parking lot and surrounded by pines.)

I don't think he has tv's with headphones but he can fix a cavity in the time it takes to watch three commercials.

Expect to spend about 45 minutes for most routine visits.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 3:31 PM

Dr. Koonce has aways been really good

-- Posted by seedsower on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 7:03 PM

So I understand.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 6:25 AM

Thanks for the tip, Quantumcat. Do you know if he is in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Network? Medical and Dental expenses have sky-rocketed over the past 10 years, but you'd better go ahead and take out a second mortgage if you are even considering going "out of network" for an appointment of any kind.

-- Posted by tgreader on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 6:46 AM

I liked Koonce also, Seedsower, but was eventually forced to leave him because of the afore mentioned reason.

-- Posted by tgreader on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 6:48 AM

The only reason I am sticking with my current job is because of the patients that I see three days a week. (I deal with the same 46 everyday) These people have the same appointment time three days a week. I have personally sat down and made out schedules that give the patient enough time for their treatment and have given the employees 30 minutes between patients to set up. Well, guess what...only about once a week people do not have to wait. When you work in a field where your job is taking care of people, things are going to happen. Always. I work 14+ hours a day. I get one 30 minute break and two fifteen minute breaks. That's it. And the rest of the time I am there I am going as fast as I can to get everyone taken care of. I don't stop. When the days are particularly bad, I make sure my patients know what is going on, but that doesn't make their wait any shorter. Well, I am rambling. I guess what I am saying is it is not that we don't care that you have to wait, because we do. Just keep in mind we are working on other people that need our extra time...and you never know when that could be you.

-- Posted by D-Penny on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 7:49 AM

A degree of waiting is expected. When the Dentist carries you back to the chair, then goes and works on 3 or 4 others, sometimes taking so long to return to you that the shot has worn off then their is a problem. If you aren't ready to complete my procedure then don't sit me in the chair. If it takes me 30 minutes to get to the chair then you overbooked. It's pretty simple. If these comments aren't reflective of your practice then they obviously aren't aimed at you.

-- Posted by tgreader on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 8:15 AM

absoultly correct tgreader...and D Penny, if you run your schedule so tight that you cannot meet your end of the bargain, maybe you should study this a little and see what is wrong with your scheduling.There are a lot of Doctors out there that do not have that problem. It is very good of you to explain to your waiting patients what is going on but have you ever told one they could leave and reschedule because you are behind? Please remember just because we are called "patients" doesn't mean we are patient...

-- Posted by wayner58 on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 11:10 AM

To tgreader: I believe the dentist (Dr. Martin) next to Feldhaus Funeral Home is in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of TN network. For a regular cleaning, you are in and out in about 30-45 minutes.

-- Posted by onenamil on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 2:56 PM

I have the best Dr in Tullahoma. I'm 8 months pregnant and for my regular checkups every month I can go to Tullahoma,have my visit and most of the time be back at the end of my hour lunch break! And Yes that is doing the speed limit too!

-- Posted by MSK on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 4:13 PM

I agree that it can be very frustrating when you have to wait excessive amounts of time to see your doctor. For me the worst thing is not being communicated with about the wait and given the courtesy of being kept informed about when I will be seen.

On the other hand if your were the patient being seen and the doctor found something unexpected in your exam, would you want him to just close up your chart and call for the next patient. "Sorry this might be serious but you'll have to make another appointment, I have to stay on schedule." I know I would not.

-- Posted by devan on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 7:41 PM

Oh my Oh my....I go thru that every month...twice a month at the doctor's office....I have sat as long as 21/2 hours after my appointment time before I even seen the doctor...Yes it is terrible to have to sit and wait and wait after rushing to get there in time...But they never say I am sorry...But if we are late I have seen them just talk terrible to the one that got there late....It is not right...but what can we do....

-- Posted by rebelrose on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 8:55 PM

I try to understand doctors are busy people but so am I. I don't like having to wait when I have an appointment. I don't like being put on hold on the phone, I hate it when someone I am talking to on the phone says "Hold on a minute my phone is beeping and they take forever coming back to you", I hate automated phone calls (if I answer my phone and it's a computer I hang up right then, What's even worse is those computer calls that are all happy and cheerful at 7am on Saturday morning telling me I have won and to Call Them Back (if they want to talk to me they better be on the other end of that phone when I answer it)

But you know what I hate worse of all at the Doctors Office? I sit in the outer office waiting for sometimes an hour or more, then sit in the cold examining room for another 30-45 minutes...finally the Doctor comes in and ask what's wrong (like if I knew I wouldn't be there) She's in there maybe 10 minutes if I am lucky then hands me a prescription on my way out the door. So in reality I have spent about 2 and a half hours at the Doctors office and spent $75 dollars for 10 minutes of Doctor time and still don't know any more than I did when I went in... but I have a prescription (for what though, I am always unsure until I come home and look it up my new meds on the internet)

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 9:09 PM

Oh yea one more thing then I will be quite I promise :>)

Don't you just hate it when you have waited all that time to see your Doctor then all you see is the Doctors Assistant?

It's been so long since I have seen my actual Doctor: I ask the last time I was there if she was even still alive.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 9:16 PM

Diana, you make some great points! Another thing you failed to mention that bugs the CRAP out of me is "updating" my chart every freakin time I go there. Why can't you just tell them nothing has changed and that's the end of it. I was allergic to ____ last month and still am. My address is still the same.

After entering all this info along with "why are you here today", You have to repeat to the nurse everything you just put on the chart when you enter the little room. Then when the Doctor comes in, you have to repeat this stuff a third time. By the time I have to tell the Dr. what is wrong with me yet again, I'm usually ready to say the heck with it and leave.

-- Posted by tgreader on Fri, Jul 11, 2008, at 6:50 AM

tgreader,

How about having to show a picture ID everytime you go? Being to primary driver for my parents and disabled brother, it get's frustrating when you have to fill out the same paperwork at the desk and show ID to even get to see the MD.

I have gotten quit use to the wait time. I think I have read just about every magazine in one of my mom's docs office waiting room and hers are all in Nashville.

I have been in the medical profession for close to 20 years, in the hospital side of things, I understand the frustration, happens even when you are hospitalized. I have become quite use to asking MD's questions concerning my family members care. I know MD's don't seem to spend lots of time with patients, but don't be afraid to ask questions while you have them in room and if need be write the questions down before you go. Also, be a little assertive to get your answers, after all that's why you went to start with. I've spent more time than I care to admit in MD offices the last year, usually at least 2 different ones each week, and each of them have their own unique issues and wait times.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Fri, Jul 11, 2008, at 10:05 AM

To tgreader: I believe the dentist (Dr. Martin) next to Feldhaus Funeral Home is in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of TN network. For a regular cleaning, you are in and out in about 30-45 minutes.

-- Posted by onenamil on Thu, Jul 10, 2008, at 2:56 PM

---------------------------------------------

Thank you for the info, onenamil. I hope you haven't increased your wait time by revealing who one of the apparent better dentist in Shelbyville is. Hopefully Dr. Martin's staff is better at scheduling than most of his peers and this is the reason for his prompt service.

-- Posted by tgreader on Fri, Jul 11, 2008, at 10:20 AM


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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette.
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