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Friday, January 19, 2007

Breaking news

I have a lot of magazine subscriptions, but I always look forward to the arrival of Consumer Reports.

This month's issue has a feature on doctors. There is a sidebar: Patients and doctors sound off. It details the most common complaints about each.

What bugs patients about doctors?
Kept me waiting for 30 minutes or longer: 24%
Could not schedule an appointment within a week: 19%
Spent too little time with me: 9%
Didn't get me test results promptly: 7%
Didn't respond to my phone calls promptly: 6%

My American readers are nodding quietly and thinking Man, that's terrible service. My Canadian readers are already trying to find out how to contact Consumer Reports so they can convince these doctors to take over their primary care.

Seriously, 19% of American patients say that sometimes they can't get appointments within a week??? I can't remember the last time I called the clinic and they 1) answered the phone, 2) told me I could see a doctor and 3) scheduled an appointment within a week.

Steve, by the way, wants to put an ad in the newspaper to ask for a primary-care doctor.