Tip #2 When to Schedule Your Appointment

Lets be honest, no one likes sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.  There is a million other places you would rather be.  Please understand as physicians, we hate when our patient’s wait.  It puts them in a bad mood, they cause problems for our staff and it hurts our idea of an efficient practice.

One other point, as late as a doctor is running, I can garuntee you he or she is not checking facebook or enjoying a break in the back.  There is no such thing a a break during a doctors office day.  They are working hard to get to you, while still helping the patients before you.

None of this is meant to justify rude or unhelpful staff or physicians. In that situation, simply go see a different doctor.

Many patients argue that the office needs to plan better to avoid delays.   Please understand many offices are dealing with very sick or injured patients.  Every patient requires a different level of explanation and hand holding.  There is absolutely no way to time and plan for this.  Believe us many business consultants have tried and failed.

Here is an example, earlier today we had patient with a cancer diagnosis who needed to leave for a business meeting. appointment time 5 minutes.  The following appointment was with a patient with low back pain for 12 years that had no new increase or decrease in pain.  The patient requested a run down of all the treatment options and potential side effects  for the 3rd straight appointment. Appointment time 35minutes.

Now if you were to plan for appointment times who would you have given more time to? The cancer patient or the  back pain patient? That is why doctors appointments run late. If a doctor cares and wants to treat his patients the right way, there will be delays on some of your appointments.

With that being said, there are good times to schedule your appointment to ensure a timely appointment.

1st – try to schedule at the first appointment slot in the morning or afternoon.  this is usually around 8 or 9am depending on when the doctor begins seeing patients.  A little known fact is a doctor will have a “first” afternoon appointment slot after lunch as well. usually around 1pm.  It doesn’t hurt to ask the receptionist scheduling your appointment when the “first starts” are and schedule accordingly.

This first appointment doesn’t garuntee an on time start but just like the first flight out of a city, the chances of being delayed are diminished.  All doctors get tired during office days, that first appointment you will most likely catch your doctor at the most attentive and energetic.

2nd – make sure you give the scheduler all the information that is requested over the phone.  Be as specific as to your exact condition.  If there are multiple doctors in an office, one may specialize in the exact problem your are having. This prevents you from being “bounced” around to different doctors.

3rd. Ask if you can fill out forms before coming to the appointment. These are often available online .

4th. Bring a book or your ipad.  More and more doctors offices are wifi accessible to ensure their patients are connected.

5th. Be polite to the staff and nurses.  Doctors absolutely understand how frustrating waiting for an appointment can be. Believe it or not we are patients, spouses and parents of patients, all the time.  No one person’s time is more important than another.  Although the front desk staff and nurses take the brunt of patient frustrations, the doctor will definitely hear about unruly or rude patients without exception.  For many doctors their staff is their work family, if the family is mistreated you will automatically be treated in a guarded and closed off manner by your doctor.



A doctors guide to getting the most out of your doctor appointments.


Tip #3

Make a list of your questions.

With the amount of patients a physician has to see during the day, the one thing you can count on is the visit will be shorter than you planned.  This is a frustrating fact for both doctors and patients.  As physicians, we would love to spend more time with our patients, but that often comes at the expense of long wait times and difficulty scheduling new appointments.

One of the best ways to make the most out of your doctors appointment  and to get answers to all your questions is to simply make a list! If you prepare the night before or even in the waiting room, you are going to make the most out of the short visit you have.

If you feel odd bringing in a list of questions,  Don’t worry, any caring, competent physician loves lists! A list of questions you want answered helps keep the appointment efficient and makes sure we avoid follow-up phone calls and that last-minute “oh by the way”.

A great time to make a list is in the waiting room, or in between doctor visits.  A running list on your phone in iPhone or google notes is an awesome way to write down spur of the moment questions or symptoms you have throughout the day.

So make a list and make the most out of your doctors visit!



Sample  doctor visit list :

  • why does it hurt when I (blank)?
  • could my medications cause (blank)?
  • what should I expect after surgery?
  • what does this abnormal lab result mean?
  • I have this other body part that is giving me a problem.
  • Is this swelling, color, drainage normal?
  • My wife/husband/mom/dad would like some info on my condition.


What does the HITECH act say about your medical records? They are your property! Every request for you records must be complied with by your medical providers.


From the HITECH Act:

In the case where a provider has implemented an EHR system, the Act provides individuals with a right to obtain their PHI in an electronic format (i.e. ePHI). An individual can also designate that a third party be the recipient of the ePHI. The Act provides that only a fee equal to the labor cost can be charged for an electronic request.