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B Comm

In: Business and Management

Submitted By vaishnavi
Words 672
Pages 3
A physician client relayed this story to me: "The patient barged into my office as I was on the phone and threatened to sue me because he had been waiting four hours. I said politely that the hospital called because one of my patients was in critical condition and I have to deal with the critical ones first."

Lee J. Johnson, JD
When I expressed dismay, the client told me that his patients are used to such situations.
Four hours? Unless the patient lives 3.5 hours away and has no cell phone, there is no excuse—in the office or in the courtroom—for making a patient wait that amount of time.

The doctor in this example defended his actions by saying that medicine is a business. No business can flourish without positive word-of-mouth promotion, however, and your medical office will not realize good productivity if you are in court instead of the office.


In most patient satisfaction surveys related to the medical practice setting, patients' main complaint is long wait times. In one survey, patients waiting 10 or fewer minutes rated their satisfaction as "good" to "very good." Another survey concluded that punctual patients are annoyed if they have to wait 37 minutes to see the physician. If you make a patient wait a long time to see you, you are telling the patient that you do not value his or her time.

The good news is that wait time is not likely to show up as the major complaint in a lawsuit. Some cases exist, however, in which plaintiff attorneys claimed that the brief time a doctor spent with a patient contributed to the physician's failure to diagnose and/or treat. Appointment books even have been allowed as evidence.

Because a malpractice lawsuit requires departure from the standard of care and damages, a long wait will not constitute an allegation unless the patient's condition was triaged, deteriorated while waiting, and...

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