Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

Family Webicine

with Rod Moser, PA, PhD

This blog has been retired.


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Monday, August 19, 2013

The Waiting Room

By Rod Moser, PA, PhD

two people in a waiting room

Of all of the complaints that patients post about their medical care, waiting time is very high on the list.

A recent poll by Fierce Practice Management shows that medical practices still have a way to go in patient satisfaction when it comes to waiting time.  According to the online poll,

  • 65% of the respondents reported waiting an hour or more to see their provider
  • 37% say that when they have waited a long time, they are often rushed and less likely to ask the provider questions
  • 70% weren’t informed that their provider was “running late”
  • 55% say they did not receive an apology for the delay

Patients should always be informed if the medical provider is “running late”. Our group has tried many things, from constantly posting wait times on a white board in the waiting room, to a high-tech, moving display that updates the wait time like the stock market prices. Apparently, this last method did not work out well, because I no longer see it in the family practice waiting room. As a matter of fact, the white board is also gone. A simple knock on the exam room door to let the next patient know that there will be a delay is only common courtesy.

There are some medical providers who are constantly late (we have one of those providers in our group), and after a while, some patients learn to accept those delays. A local pediatric urologist (now retired) would make his patients wait up to four hours! The parents, knowing this, would bring food and entertainment for the kids being seen.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that staying on time can be difficult for several reasons, but the most common is that a large percentage of patients often come in with a hidden agenda or extra item that they would like handled during the set visit time. These can range from the “Oh by the way, can you freeze this wart?” to I need a sports physical completed.  While I can’t blame the patient for trying to get as much done during a medical visit as possible, each additional item takes time away from the next patient. By the end of the day, a provider could definitely be running late.

And there are a many other possible reasons for delay: The person just before your visit could have had a crisis or a serious medical issue that took longer, or the doctor may have been called to the hospital or had a family emergency, or it could be another unforeseeable issue entirely.  A few years ago, while teaching a young mother how to insert a rectal suppository on her two-year old child, I had a major crisis. The child suddenly pooped all over me, and I had to go home, shower, change clothes and come back.  About two hours of my patients had to be rescheduled. When I explained my reasons, parents understood completely.

Poop happens.



Posted by: Rod Moser, PA, PhD at 11:11 am

Subscribe & Stay Informed

WebMD Daily

Get your daily dose of healthy living, diet, exercise and health news from WebMD!


WebMD Health News