https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js Everyone has experienced this: You sit in the reception area for what seems like hours, reading old magazines and thinking about what to make for dinner, while you wait to see your doctor. When the receptionist finally calls your name after 45 minutes (if you’re lucky), you proceed to sit alone, for another 15 minutes, perched on the uncomfortable, parchment papered table, finding your only entertainment to be the posters of internal organs that line the walls. At last, you get to see your doctor. But the doctor is busy, and time is short. Your appointment is over before you even get a chance to mention the pain you’ve been experiencing lately in your right shoulder. Sound familiar?
The amount of actual “face time”, or time spent by doctors and other healthcare providers with their patients, averages 10-15 minutes. This is largely due to the fact that, in most cases, healthcare reimbursement is in accordance with a fee-for-service model, and is based not on quality but on quantity. Physicians and other healthcare providers commonly see more than 30 patients in one day. As a result, many patients feel frustrated when they don’t get a chance to voice questions and concerns; physicians are likewise frustrated in their desires to fully address the needs of their patients.
So, how can you maximize the quality of the time that you do get to spend with your healthcare provider? Here are some tips: Keep your focus. What’s the main reason you made the appointment in the first place? If, for example, your main issue is that you have been having chest pains, this should be the primary topic of your appointment.
Be prepared. You should arrive for every appointment, with a checklist of questions you’d like to ask your doctor. Make early appointments. Aim to schedule the earliest available appointment; this will minimize your chances of having to wait for a doctor who’s become backed up with prior patients.
Consult a trusted companion, like a professional health careplanner, who can help to ensure that your needs are met and your interests are best served. If you follow these 4 steps, it will help you save time and get answers to the questions that most concern you. I believe being an active participant in your health can result in improved healthcare experiences and outcomes.
Crystal Fornes is a nurse practitioner and patient advocate with over 10 years of experience. She is also helping Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor of NBC News, start CarePlanners, a company that gives patients and caregivers make better decisions as they navigate the healthcare system with expert support and personalized technology.