Last week, we posted here about all of the great, positive comments we received from our patients on a recent survey. Today’s it’s time for us to ‘fess up about the most common negative comment, and talk about what we’re trying to do to fix it.
The most common criticism we heard from our recent surveys was: “The waiting time can be too long.”
We agree, and our own staff and doctors have been frustrated by waits at their doctor’s offices, too. It’s a problem epidemic in medicine. I don’t want this post to turn into a bunch of excuses, but scheduling the right amount of time for every patient is really difficult, and sometimes no matter what you do with your schedule, genuine surprises occur. Still, we get it: that waiting with sick and/or impatient kids can’t be any fun, and we don’t like to make anyone wait. These are the steps we’re taking, right now, to help improve our wait times:
Better communication between our doctors and nurses Dr. Stan, who besides being a super doc is also a super computer genius, has developed a much better way for all of our nursing staff to see at one glance what all of our doctors need, and how long patients have been waiting. We’re hoping this helps streamline the many tasks that need to get done.
Improved scheduling We’re constantly working on ways to improve our schedules so patients can get the time they need. We’ll shortly be rolling out more opportunities for web-based scheduling, and more-robust logic that can help us figure out how much time certain types of appointments are likely to take. A lot of this is “behind the scenes”, but it’s something we take very seriously.
Improved checkout Working with our software vendors, we’re automating and shortening a lot of the tasks that used to lead to standing around at checkout, and there’s more to come!
While we’re working on these and other ideas, there are some things that parents and patients can do to help everyone get seen quickly and efficiently:
Please come on time for your appointment There is time set aside for your child at your child’s appointment time. If you’re late, all of the appointments after you are going to have to wait longer.
Tell us in advance if you think you need “extra time” We know certain problems — including mental health issues, or chronic unexplained pain, or complex social or school problems — do need extra time. Please tell the staff in advance, at the time you make the appointment.
Consider registering for the portal and doing some of the intake forms in advance Some of the forms we’ll ask you to complete in the office for well visits, especially, can be completed in advance on the portal. We’ll be making more of these forms available as soon as we can.
While we’re trying to do the best we can, we’ll tell you one thing to improve our “on-time” performance that we will not do: our doctors will not “watch the clock” while we’re in the exam room with you. During your visit, you will have the time you need, even if your problem is complex, and especially when your child needs the doctor’s attention most. Yes, that means the next patient may have to wait a bit. We’ll do the best we can to run on time, but we’re not going to tap our watches and tell people that their time is up. We’ll never be that kind of practice.
Thanks for all of your support!!