I hate going to the doctor. But not because of the medical stuff. It’s the administrative part. The processes and systems are terrible. So much arrogance, so much stupidity. Let’s skip the endless forms, that’ll be a post for some other day. (Sample stupidity to whet your appetite: Enter both your birthdate and your age. Let that sink in.) We’ll just go through the visit itself.
I sat in the waiting room for thirty minutes past my appointment time. At no time was there any indication that there was a problem, this was considered normal. Anytime they could announce, “our apologies we’re running a bit behind”. Since they already had my contact information, they could have texted me that before I left the house. Delta texts me when they are running late, Home Depot delivery texts me, my son’s tennis team texts me… this is easy proven technology.
As it so happens, I had to miss my daughter’s talent show performance to make this appointment. As it so happens, I could have made it since this office was running thirty minutes behind. As is so happens, since there was no communication, I missed it.
The weigh-in. I had been weighed in six days prior at my primary’s office, and I have agreed to share all my information with this office. I weigh myself every morning. Nope, they have to weigh you personally. Shoes on or off – they don’t care, so it is obviously so imprecise to be pointless.
On to the standard examination room. There is no second chair, so I have to perch on that padded examination table even to have a simple conversation. And even though everyone here will end up half-naked at some point, there is no place to put your clothes. It wouldn’t be hard to throw in a plastic bin, but nope. Throw your clothes in the corner. How hygenic.
Now more questions. The assistant goes through a checklist. The questions are literally the same questions on the forms I just filled out. They are also the same questions my primary care physician has asked many times over (which they have permission to access). When I ask the assistant why I just filled out the forms to have the same questions asked, she looks confused and starts flipping through her papers. We move on to a blood pressure check, even though this is also on my record.
It has now been almost an hour. There is no added value yet. Literally nothing has happened that has improved anyone’s understanding of my medical condition. This is a waste of my time, their time, and our taxpayer money.
Now another nurse assistant of some variety tags in and asks me the same questions that I had filled out all the forms. Why? “To verify what your primary care physician sent over.” The sheer stupidity of this statement likely doubled my blood pressure.
Now the doctor finally arrives. The next ten minutes are sensible. He is focused, professional, knowledgeable.
On my way out, it is fifteen minutes more to find and get handed some forms that could have been assembled before I ever came in.
Doctors have a captive audience – every visit may be a variant of this experience, but no one will switch doctors because of it. This is what happens in a system riddled with perverse hidden incentives. In total – just under two hours at the office. Useful time? Five minutes for another EKG, and ten minutes with the doctor. And a very disappointed daughter.