A common theme in medicine is that many patients worry about their health. For patients, this can take many forms. Some patients avoid the doctor, deciding “what I don’t know won’t hurt.” Others worry for days or months leading up to their check-ups, worrying their doctor will “find something bad.” And, still others go in to see their doctors much more regularly in hopes of getting answers to their questions to help calm their fears.
Have you ever had to call your traditional primary care doctor's office for a general question? It probably goes something like this:
Patient calls at 9am, and before getting a word out:
Receptionist: “Thanks for calling Slow Family Practice, please hold.”
10 minutes later: “How may I help you?”
Patient at 9:10am: “Hi, I have a question for Dr. Too Busy and was hoping to speak with him.”
Receptionist: “Let me check with his nurse to see if he’s available.”
10 minutes later: “Dr. Too Busy is currently with patients, but I can have him call you back when he’s available.”
Patient at 9:20am: “Ok, please have him do that.
Several hours later:
Nurse: “Hi this is Dr. Too Busy’s nurse returning your phone call.”
Patient at 12:30pm: “Oh hi, I had a question about a rash that I’ve had and my blood sugars today.”
Nurse: “Ok, well why don’t we schedule an appointment for you.”
Patient: “That would be fine, though Dr. Too Busy can probably help me over the phone.”
Nurse: “Well we really need to see you in the office. He has an opening 2 weeks from today!”
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.