Top Reasons Your Doctor Is Late

Doctor looking at watch checking the time concept for appointment or deadline

Top Reasons Your Doctor Is Late

Everyone’s got one: Top 10 List of Pet Peeves. On this list, we generally see things like: people who pull out in front of you, toilet paper on the dispenser backward, those who chew with their mouths open and lastly, doctors who are late. Oh, does that last one just jump on everyone’s last nerve! You rearrange your schedule to be to the doctor’s office just a little early and then end up sitting and waiting for what seems like an eternity before you are seen. Have you ever wondered why doctors are sometimes late seeing their patients? We’re going to help you understand a day in the life of a doctor just a little better and let you decide for yourself.

Who Are Doctors Anyway?

What most of us don’t realize is that first off, doctors are people too. They have spouses and sometimes children or pets. They have things they have to do before they come into the office and, just like life in our homes, sometimes mornings don’t run as smoothly as we would like. Fido gets loose or Suzy throws a tantrum over her outfit…yeah, life happens. It happens to us all, even doctors.

Only Patient Syndrome

Next, as much as we’d like to think so, we are not our doctor’s only patient. That is really difficult to remember sometimes, right? We are so focused on why we are at the doctor that we seem to forget that there are others who aren’t feeling well either and want the same great care from the doctor that we’d like. That all takes time. Some conditions and situations are more complicated than others. Our doctors have to deal with all of that, not just our condition. Sometimes that can get a little overwhelming.

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

Doctor’s see all kinds of patients. Take for instance, the new patient that doesn’t show up early to fill out paperwork. You can easily tack on another 15-20 minutes every time this happens during a typical day. Doctors can’t see new patients without their initial paperwork because that contains their medical history and current symptoms. And doctors can’t control when patients come in late or at least not early enough to do paperwork.

Let’s Run Some Tests

Many times, doctors need to order specific tests to be run on patients in order to come up with an accurate diagnosis. Not only does the doctor have to order the tests, but the patient has to have the test administered and as is often the case, the doctor will have the patient wait in the office for the results so they can continue with their examination. Once those results come in, the doctor has to read them over carefully and decide what the best course of action is for each patient. Imagine that happening, say, 20 times a day. The whole process takes time.

We Need More Paperwork

Again with the paperwork, I know, but this time it’s different. There are some cases where a doctor will see a patient as a follow-up appointment after the patient has been in the hospital for some type of procedure. The doctor may need to see post-operative reports, x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, or other important test results or notes from other treating physicians before they can make an accurate diagnosis. If these documents aren’t already in the patient’s file or they haven’t brought them in with them, the nurse will need to call the hospital and have them fax the information over or have someone run the results over if the office is close enough. Just another fine detail that takes more time.

We could go on and on for days, but you get the picture. There are lots of important details that go into each diagnosis for each patient. Doctors want to be thorough in order to provide the best care for their patients and, unfortunately, sometimes that means they run late. It’s not some doctor conspiracy where they intentionally make their patients wait forever, it’s just simply life. And we can all empathize with that.