As patients, the bane of our existence is waiting to see the doctor. We physicians are often not on time, and patients have to wait both in the waiting room and exam room for significant periods of time. From a physician’s point of view, I can tell you that one of the main reasons it is difficult to stay on schedule is that we often cannot know ahead time how complex a patient encounter can be until we are with the patient. Some common conditions can be assessed in less than 10 minutes, whereas more unusual patient complaints may take over 45 minutes to evaluate.
Having myself been in the position of being a patient, I’ve waited 2 hours or more sometimes to see my doctor. While I find such waiting times to be exceedingly frustrating, my decision of whether or not to switch doctors is almost completely based on my encounter with the physician themselves. If my doctor has excellent credentials, if he/she gives me their undivided attention, if he/she does a thorough evaluation, and answers all my questions, I am happy to continue seeing such a doctor.