Archive for September 23, 2010

The Office

Having a good experience at the doctor’s office isn’t just about choosing a good physician. For better or for worse, a doctor’s office itself, as well as his or her staff can contribute significantly to the care you receive. As such, they are often seen as a reflection on the doctor himself.

Most doctors take pride in keeping an office that’s clean and efficient. It’s a good sign when your doctor is conscientious about the environment in which you receive care. While Persian rugs and Ming vases make for an impressive waiting room, it’s more important that an examing room be well lit, clean, and stocked with essential tools.

Blood drawing is usually available in the office. Some doctors have access to bedside ultrasound or obstetric monitoring. You may ask whether these are accessible or are performed off-site. If services are off-site, check if they take your insurance in order to avoid a surprise bill.

The most important tool in the physician’s arsenal is his or her staff. Receptionists are responsible for keeping the office moving. They are the gatekeepers to your care, handling the often difficult task of finding convenient appointment times, arranging off-site testing, rescheduling missed visits, and contacting the doctors in-between patients in cases of emergency. They help keep the doctors running on time by avoiding disturbances to the doctors’ schedule (thereby minimizing your wait time – a big plus!).

Receptionists should be polite, helpful, well-organized, and efficient. In return, they should be treated with respect and patience. If you find that access to your doctor is limited by poor service at the reception desk, you should share these concerns with your doctor. He or she has a definite interest in making sure your needs are met and may have ways of facilitating optimal service.

Medical assistants, phlebotomists and other office staff are also key to providing good care. They should be polite, attentive, and accurate in performing their assigned tasks. It’s often frustrating when you find that somebody has difficulty drawing your blood or takes your blood pressure with a cuff you feel was too tight. It’s important to discuss concerns about their service with your doctor, as he or she relies on the quality of their work in interpreting your results.

That being said, going to the doctor is never going to be fun. When you’re a patient, you may be nervous about your health, pressed for time to return to work, or caring for little ones in a waiting room that’s designed for adults. Let the staff know when you’re struggling with something so that they can do everything possible to make you more comfortable.

If you give (hopefully positive!) feedback about the office to your doctor, you’ll be doing both of you a favor.

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September 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm 1 comment


Linda M. Nicoll, MD

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find information about minimally invasive gynecologic surgery as well as some more general information about common gynecologic disorders such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, infertility, and pelvic pain.

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