Do patients want doctors who are on time, but rush appointments?

Reading these comments got me thinking – Where in the spectrum of waiting are you?

Are you, fellow physicians, the type who is always on time, every 15 minutes? Or do you spend as much time as it takes with each patient?

Do you, as a patient, want a physician who runs on time, every time? Or do you mind waiting 1 hour for a visit where all your problems are addressed?

Because you can’t have both. It is impossible. Hence, the spectrum of waiting.

A typical visit to a primary care physician’s office is allotted 15 minutes. Each physician session lasts 4 hours. Think about that. If the doctor merely spends 5 “extra” minutes with each patient, the last patient of the session will be over 1 hour late. Guaranteed.

Is that acceptable? It depends. Some will find going in and out of a visit in 5 minutes, but on time, to be satisfactory. Others will find waiting 1 hour for a doctor to spend 30 minutes on them to be just as satisfying.

The key as a patient is to find a physician whose view of the spectrum matches yours. Those patients who are unhappy are those who are matched with a doctor with a differing view of the spectrum.

There are doctors who practice at both ends of the spectrum: some like clockwork, running on time; others running late, but taking the time. There are infinitely more who practice somewhere in between.

As a physician, ask yourself where in the spectrum you fit in.

As a patient, ask yourself where in the spectrum you would like your doctor to be.

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