Big pharma has become a scapegoat for big waits


Big Pharma is something the federal government has to deal with, and they do. However, there is something more compelling to the guy who wants to see his doctor. “Hello. If this is an emergency, dial 911. 911 will send you to the emergency room where you may wait all day to see any kind of medic. Ask anyone who has waited 8 hours in the ER before they are seen by a medic, if at all. If you have a health plan, it will probably cost you $100 just for the visit.

Urgent Care is limited in what they can do. The point is, when you want to see your doctor, all too often you will be sent on your way and told the next available appointment is six months down the road. You may not be dying, but you want to see your doctor now, not six months from now.

Automation is here to stay, and we know it, but a visit to the family doctor is not something to be automated. Why do so many patients cross the southern border to see a doctor? Ask them, and they will tell you.

Call your primary care physician and the first thing you hear will be a voice that asks, “Please hold.” And hold you will, waiting and waiting, and if they ever come back online, you will not get an immediate appointment or anything near it. Before you actually get to talk to anyone about your request, they may have transferred your call two or three times, and you must repeat your name, etc., to each new transfer. You would think that information would appear on their computer screens once you’ve given it. Oh no. That’s not how it works. The new voice, whoever it may be, wants to hear the whole introduction spiel for their own personal computer before they transfer you to someone else.

There seems to be collusion in the medical community that spends more time pacifying the medics at a cost to the patients who simply need to see their doctor, not requiring brain surgery in order to have a reasonable time with the doctor. There are plenty of doctors. The medical schools are graduating a new batch every year.

If you are old enough, you will remember when we had family doctors who would fit you in if you needed to see him or her within a week or sooner. Automating sick people is not the answer to good medical practice. Your doctor is the most personal relationship you ever have, and you ought to be able to see him when you need to, not when it is convenient.

I have been approached by a number of disgruntled patients to write this, and I am honoring their requests. I would appreciate any input from anyone with a different approach. Just sayin’.

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