Patients often complain that they simply did not have enough time with the doctor. The whole visit felt rushed. Maybe you went to the office, waited for 20 minutes to get called back, spent 10 minutes with a nurse, and then finally saw the doctor. Sixty seconds later, he or she headed out the door, barely acknowledging you, already moving on to the next appointment.
If you have been there, you know it’s frustrating. How long have you worried about your health issues? They consume your thoughts. They cause you stress. You just want answers. That’s what you’re paying the doctor for, but the doctor doesn’t have time for you. What should you do?
The issue is that many doctors book the maximum amount of patients, so they have to rush all day long to see everyone. There are, however, a few tricks you can use to get a bit more time.
- Set goals for yourself. Do not go into the office hoping the doctor will guide the conversation. Come in with goals. Consider what you want to learn, what you want to accomplish and how you can do it. Then, when you meet with the doctor, go after those goals aggressively right away.
- Make a list. Similarly, you need to make a list of any concerns you have or questions you want to ask. Don’t rely on your memory alone. If the doctor asks if you have any questions, he or she will probably give you two seconds to answer before heading out the door. If you stand there thinking, the meeting ends.
- Talk about the time. Don’t just assume you get unlimited time with the doctor. They know they have a pressing schedule. Instead, start out by saying that you know time is at a premium. Just acknowledging it can change the whole encounter by making you and your doctor feel like you’re on the same team — rather than working against one another.
- Get there early. Going to the doctor in the late afternoon increases the odds the doctor has already gotten behind schedule. It’s just what naturally happens on a busy day. The doctor may then give you less time or rush through your appointment. If you’re the first person they see that day, they don’t have that last-minute stress. You may end up getting the longest and most relaxed appointment possible.
Your options when rushing leads to mistakes
The problem is that even doing this doesn’t guarantee you won’t get a rushed, stressed doctor who does not give you enough time. This can lead to critical mistakes and medical malpractice, and you need to know about all of the options you have.