Running Late – How to help patients understand

No one likes to run late and even if you do a good job of staying on schedule, stuff happens.

So what do you do when you’re running late and a patient complains or points out the fact they’ve “been waiting for you for 30 minutes”.
How to handle it depends on the circumstatnces and the patient.  Sometimes it just simple enough to joke that I wasn’t sitting in my office drinking coffee and watching CNBC, but rather because I was dealing with X problem with another patient (or because THAT patient was late for their appointment, putting me behind). I also explain that practicing medicine isn’t like being a hair stylist where a haircut takes 30 minutes and a perm takes an hour, or whatever. It’s unpredictable. Sometimes things are quick but a lot of times they’re not.
Also offense is often the best defence.  Train your staff to tell patients you are running behind.   And they are next, or you’ll be in about 15 minutes.  Also eople should be given the option of rescheduling.
How do you deal with complaints that you’re running late?

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