Why Are There Patient Wait Times?
Patient wait times can sometimes be an issue and I wanted to discuss why they can vary quite a bit and depend on many factors. A physician could be late due to a longer surgery than expected, or an emergency consult. As for me, I will never be late because of a long lunch or an errand. Never. I could fall behind because, like today, a 42 year old man had a new diagnosis of kidney cancer. He needs surgery to remove his kidney. He needs scans to make sure it hasn’t spread. He had a lot of questions. When I am seeing a new patient for the first time, those visits of course are longer than most. If the patient happens to be elderly or debilitated, it will take longer still, but I have to take the time necessary to provide the proper care.
Do we ever schedule more patients than we should? Perhaps. But we try very hard to get patients who feel their situation is urgent in to the office as soon as is feasible. Do we ever have too few patients where the staff is waiting around due to cancellations? Not very often, but sometimes cancellations come in bunches so you just never know.
To help patients through the days where we do fall behind, we have certain flexibilities to help patients manage it. We don’t have a policy against cell phones, and if it takes a moment for the patient to get their phone under control when I walk in the room it’s no problem. And patients are reasonable about this 99% of the time. We also have informational screens in each room with programmable medical information as well as healthy cooking features.
On days with long waits it is also very stressful on our staff and on me. As a Las Vegas Urologist, I am are very conscious of the situation and do everything possible to provide proper care but also try to catch up as much as possible.
Most patients are very understanding. And we appreciate that!!!