What follows is an actual copy of a message that we’re posting in the office this week. They are really not too bad as a set of guidelines or efficient office rules. We’re just trying to work together more efficiently to maximize the quality of your appointment time. Notes in bold/italic are not posted in the office… but I thought you might like to know we’re really thinking….
PATIENTS: PLEASE HELP US TO BE MORE EFFICIENT IN ORDER TO SERVE YOU BETTER
Although it is our motto to “think about everything on everybody, every time…” we obviously can’t handle everything every time. So, in preparation for your office visit, make every effort to follow these important guidelines… (we’d call them “rules”, but who are we kidding?):
- When you make an appointment and when you are checked into a room, please make sure that you tell us the issues of greatest importance to you, most especially your main purpose for your visit. (we particularly like to get this one right; it’s never really a good thing to miss the point entirely, especially in a medical office)
- Unless you wish it to be confidential, inform the appointment desk at the time you make the appointment and the nurse at time of check-in of every item or issue you wish to be addressed at your visit (okay, so you’ve got a long list… lists are really okay…. really)
- Know all your medications (it’s best to bring them in their original bottles), their dosages and directions, what each is for, and how many refills you have left (It’s never our idea of a good time figuring out what the pharmacy did with your refills; it wastes a lot of time and we hate doing the math).
- Any forms to be filled out need to be completed ahead of time as thoroughly as possible. (if we could, we’d charge double for government and insurance forms that ask impossible, contradictory, redundant, or just plain stupid questions that were written by a bureaucrat who knows nothing about medicine or real life, but we can’t… so it will just take up your appointment time)
- Certain things take time, so please understand that a long list of medication refills or complicated forms may take time away from dealing with other problems (time is money… and we can’t charge you by the millisecond like an attorney… so the appointment slot our office schedule is the only thing we can legally get paid for… we could spend hours saving your life outside the office and not be able to collect a penny)
- Another office visit (or two) may be needed to fully address new or multiple medical issues, although we will do our best to cover as much as time allows. (we hate this as much as you do).
- If you are being seen on a walk-in or same-day appointment for an acute problem, please be aware that we will not have allotted time to address your routine medication refills or other ongoing problems. These will have to be addressed at a separate visit (see previous comment).
- Please refrain from inquiring about other family members’ medical problems or asking for their refills at your own office visit. Refill requests for others can be addressed to the front desk or the nurse outside the exam room before or after your appointment. (we’re stretched pretty thin out here on the primary care front, and can’t afford to give many “two-fers” even though we can’t help but say “yes” and be accommodating to even the most unreasonable requests… see final comment at bottom)
- If your appointment is for a simple, brief issue, and you are pressed for time, please let us know. We’ll try to move you up in the line. (unfortunately there’s always the risk that the squeaky wheel will get the grease, while the broken axle gets delayed… see final comment at the bottom).
- Finally, please try to avoid ending your visit with…. “Oh, just one more thing, Doc…” (documenting another problem, a shot, a lab, a new medication or a refill, etc. after the office note is completed is many times more time-consuming than if this service is requested on the front end of the visit) (once you’ve closed out a note in this fancy electronic medical record, it takes a gazillion steps to get back in, edit the note, add in another shot or script, and close it out again)
Thank-you…. (WE’RE JUST TRYING TO SHORTEN YOUR WAIT TIME!) Dr K.
(I really wrote these rules for me, because I try too hard to make people happy and sometimes don’t know when to quit or say “no”. So, if you patients want me to stay healthy… follow the doggone rules)