Obviously, things are changing very quickly with medical care today. With all the changes in reimbursement and insurance as well as costs, insurance and overhead for the doctor there is a squeeze between the kind of care of times gone by and the future.
However, some things should never be sacrificed for the sake of expediency and trying to see more people for less reimbursement. Health care really shouldn’t be on the Wal-Mart business plan of smaller markups/margins but deal in volume. You should still be an individual and not merely a number.
Basically what should you expect from your physician?
1. You should always be able to tell that your physician, in this case your optometrist, still cares about your eyes and your vision but also about you as a whole patient. The eyes are but a part of the entire body and we treat more than just a pair of glasses or contact lens.
2. You should feel comfortable enough to ask questions and not feel like you are infringing on their time or slowing them down to answer you in a way that you can fully grasp and understand what is going on with your health and your eyes.
3. The physician should take the time before you have to ask to explain what is going on. Do you have any diseases? Did they see anything wrong that is of concern? Do you have risk factors for something you should be warned about, and educated about?
4. Can you call back if you think of something later? Will you be shuffled around and never get to speak with the doctor directly? Most of the time the well trained staff can answer most of your questions, but they should at least be able to take a number and your physician should return your call later if necessary. Is that something that will happen?
5. Do you establish a relationship? This is not only important for the best care, but also really pleasant and makes the exam so much less stressful when you walk in and see the same doctor each time and you know about each other’s lives. He/she remembers your grand kids. Or you remember when they had a new baby. It is something that seems to be a thing of the past but it doesn’t have to be.
6. Does your physicians office respect your time as well as you respect theirs? If you make an appointment, you should be seen within a reasonable time of that appointment time. True there are emergencies that the doctor can not always control, but why should you wait 2 hrs to be seen if you have an appointment. If the office accepts walk-ins, do they allow them to make the appointments run late? This isn’t the way it should be. Walk-ins are just that. They are being worked in as time permits. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to offer to do an exam with short notice. We all have times when the glasses broke that morning and you are up a salt creek, but again, if you made an appointment you should be seen within a reasonable time.
7. Does your physician stay on the forefront of the latest medical education, technology and practices? Doing it the same way for year after year after year may work, but is it the best care possible?
Doing eye exams in 5-10 min really is not the way to accomplish all of these things. Speed shortcuts so much that you really don’t know if the doctor even bothered to look at your eyes or just did the exam out of rote memorization. Expect more. If you go somewhere that you didn’t get that, then don’t go back. Find somewhere that you feel like you are important to them. For that 15 min or so you should be the only thing they are thinking about or paying attention to. Don’t accept less.