One of my pet peeves is showing up for an appointment and having to wait around for the person that I’m supposed to meet with. Whether its one of my doctors, an attorney, my accountant or anyone else, being more than a few minutes late really bugs me. My staff feels the same way, and if I happen to fall more than 3-4 minutes behind with my schedule in my office, it drives the staff nuts!
As I look at setting up my schedule in the office, I take several things into account:
- What type of appointment is being booked at what time
- What type of testing we will typically do for each type of appointment
- When I expect myself or the appropriate staff member to be available to work with the patient
- When other patients should be finished with their appointments, freeing myself or my staff members up to work with other patients
The staff and I are very proud of how punctual we tend to be. Its rare for me to fall more than 10 minutes behind barring a very rare and unusual occurrence. We intentionally leave “holes” in my schedule to allow us to catch up if we do fall just a few minutes behind, and we have the exam process quite well choreographed. For this reason, if a patient is running quite a bit late, we will make every effort to see them on the day of their appointment, however, they may end up having to wait for other patients who were on or close to on time for their appointment. Its not fair to patients who are on time to have to wait for those who weren’t!
We have recently changed our exam process a bit, moving the instillation of the dilating drops to a point that is earlier in the exam process (and many times using a milder dilating drop too!). This allows me to complete a thorough exam without the patient having to sit in the lobby for 10-15 minutes to allow the drops to dilate the pupils. Patients have been very happy with this change as it spares them all of the time sitting around without sacrificing the quality of their exam.
Between this new exam process and the ethnology that I have decided to implement in my practice, things tend to run very smoothly, while still allowing for quite a bit of “socialization” between myself and my patients. One of the things that I enjoy most about being an eye doctor is spending a few minutes getting to know my patients, and catching up with patients that I may have been caring for for close to 20 years (am I really that old?).
While there may be the odd time that I run behind, you can rest assured that I’m just as annoyed as you are if I’m late getting to your appointment! I truly value your time more than mine and am committed to keeping an onetime record that most other health care providers and professionals can only dream of!