We are all too familiar with clinic visits from a patient’s perspective – setting up an appointment, waiting in line, and finally being checked up after hours of waiting.
But the view from the other side is not quite pleasant as well. Doctors face the reality that there are patients out there who demand that they be prioritized because of their illness.
In fact, a study by Medscape, a web resource for physicians and health professionals worldwide, imply that being a doctor is not exactly what we think it is cut out to be; that it is not a glamorous job.
Medscape said that in a survey of more than 15,000 physicians in the US, specialists such as anesthesiologists, cardiologists, and surgeons spend an average of 46-50 hours per week seeing patients. Pediatricians, for instance, see an average of up to 99 patients weekly.
It’s no surprise then that the study revealed that on the average, a doctor can only allot 13 to 16 minutes per patient per visit.
There has yet to be a study conducted in the Philippines to determine how much time a doctor can spend per patient. What we do know is that among upper class Filipinos, access to doctors are relatively easy.
According to the PhilCare Wellness Index, the first in the country that covered 1,200 respondents from key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, six out of 10 middle class Filipinos confidently believe that they can visit their doctors anytime they need to.
With so many Filipinos having easy access to medical attention, one can assume that doctors here also have their hands full in terms of servicing their patients.
The key, then, to clinic visits is knowing how you can make the most out of it, despite the limited time for the consultation. Dr. Yasmin Dela Cruz, a medical expert from PhilCare, said it is important that patients are educated on how to prepare for doctors visits.
“Knowing what to do, what to bring, and what to say to your doctors lets you free up a lot of time so you can really maximize on your check up sessions,” she said.
An advice column from Huffington post provides a list of sensible things to keep in mind before and during a doctor’s visit.
For example, if you’re coming in after undergoing a series of tests, make sure you bring a copy of the results for your doctor. There’s no harm to over-prepare, so even if you’re unsure whether or not the doctor will need to see all your latest laboratory results, it would be best to bring them along.
Also, you need to bring a couple of important lists. First is the set of medication you are currently taking or have taken the past week including dosages for each medicine. You may need to prepare a list of questions you want to ask regarding your illness. That way, you don’t end up calling your doctor or worse, setting up another appointment just because you forgot to ask a couple of questions that really bother you.
Finally, do not be afraid to ask and clarify. Being reluctant or embarrassed prevents your doctor from doing his job. Failing to understand his advice and instructions may, in the end, defeat the whole purpose of getting the right medical attention you came for in the first place.