Why Is My Doctor Never “On Time”

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I take great pride in the care that I provide to my patients. Nothing is more important to me than providing them with the best treatment options that are available and having the BEST outcomes. Further, I want them to know that is what they can expect when they come to see me. Thus, I pay attention to my reviews that I get through our patient questionnaires and the online reviews.

My reviews are generally excellent. Patients are pleased with the care that they receive whether it is surgical or non-surgical. I would put my outcomes up against any surgeon in the country. I am very good at what I do. The only thing that I consistently get complaints about is running late in clinic. Some patients get upset that I am, at times, running 30 minutes to an hour behind.

First, I would like to apologize for being late. I understand that everyone’s time is valuable and it can be frustrating to have an appointment time and have to wait beyond this time to see me, or any other doctor. Believe me, I feel extreme pressure when I am late. I hate to have unhappy patients. However, I would also like to offer an explanation so these patients have a better understanding of how this happens.

Unlike an appointment with your attorney, accountant or even dentist there is no specific time set for how long that appointment will take. As a physician we simply cannot say, OK your 15 minutes are up, I will try to figure it out next time. We are there to help solve your problems, and we will take whatever time is necessary to set a plan in motion.

All medical specialties are different, but orthopaedic surgery is definitely unique. We not only treat chronic conditions such as knee pain or shoulder pain, but also treat acute injuries. My typical day starts with a call, or several calls from referring providers, patients, neighbors or friends about a patient or patients who have suffered an injury the night before and needs to be evaluated immediately. Some of these injuries are severe. For example, a fracture that will require urgent surgery, a shoulder dislocation or a ligament tear. These patients need to be seen NOW. Therefore, I tell them to come on in. I will work them into my already busy schedule.

Other things come up during our hectic day as well. For example, yesterday I gave a patient an injection. They seemed to do fine during and after the injection. However, upon entering the elevator to exit the building, they got extremely light headed and passed out on the elevator. I left my clinic to go check on this patient in the lobby of our building. Meanwhile the next patients were waiting. On this particular day, I was doing very good and staying on schedule. I was actually waiting on the next patients to arrive. After this event, I found myself 1 hour behind schedule for the rest of the day

As a highly specialized provider, I also deal with a wide variety of problems. Some problems are very simple and the process of seeing the patient and determining an

appropriate treatment plan and setting it in motion is very quick. Other patients that I see have very complex problems. They may have already had several surgeries with other surgeons and continue to have problems. I see a lot of these patients and want to help them. Figuring out exactly what has been done in past and what needs to be done to help them involves a very detailed historical review of old notes, operative reports, diagnostic studies and examination.

Further, when a patient calls my office and wants to be seen about their particular problem, they want to be seen in a timely manner. Would you be happy if you called my office and were told that my next appointment was 6 months from today? I know that I would not be happy with that answer! Thus, I do my best to get patients into my clinic in a timely manner even if I need to overbook my clinic at times.

As a final thought, I once again apologize if you have to wait an hour beyond your appointment time to see me. However, I can assure you that I will give you my full attention during your appointment, and I will do my absolute best to provide you with the best care that is available to you.

Warm Regards, Chris Jones, MD

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