Unable to Satisfy Some Patients

There is a section in my book on difficult patients.  There are no easy answers on this.  Some personalities just don’t jive and it is best for certain patients to find another doctor.  There is nothing wrong with you as the doctor.  It is what it is.  The problem occurs when we feel guilty for feeling that we just can’t satisfy certain patients.  My recommend is to let that feeling go and let that patient go.  Here are some more thoughts:

  1. What does scheduling “same-day” mean to y’all? Does that imply you can pick the exact minute of the day on a few hours notice? I’m sure it doesn’t to you reasonable people, but I’m fairly certain a good % of our patients interpret it as such. We had a mom call us at 11:30am requesting an appointment at exactly 2:30 – 2:45p today. We have a new patient scheduled at 2:30p (generally give them 1 hour). So, my nurse offered any other time in afternoon (including 2:15p and 5p which is later than we usually allow) or pretty much any time tomorrow. She cried “false advertising” on us and asked to cancel service immediately. Also, said her daughter wouldn’t be able to start summer camp because of us. My nurse suggested using a pharmacy walk-in retail clinic, but the lady said she couldn’t do that because the wait would be longer than 30 minutes.  I was actually happy to see this family leave, but it still feels like she poked me in the eye one last time.
  2. These people kill me. I had a lady, who is not a patient, call and said her they are on the road and her husband, who is a patient, is not feeling well. She wanted him seen at 4 or 4:30 PM. This was at 1 PM. Another DPC doc told me a line once that I use. She said no one patient is more of a priority or more important than another and if there is a spot already occupied than there is nothing she could do about it.
  3. Those are the patients you don’t want in your practice. I had a lady rate us a 1 star online because we weren’t currently accepting new patients. She’d never set foot into the office!
  4. Sorry you had to deal with this. Good flipping riddance, impossible to satisfy person!And to clarify, for me same day appointment means an appointment the same day. Our policy is we guarantee them if they contact us by noon. But we do not guarantee a particular time of the patients whim, as it would be impossible to plan and give care to other patients. (Which you guys all know, but the point is, this person know this too.) They have to, they are just looking for a reason to bitch and bail.
  5. 10% of patients = 90% of the headaches.
  6. I do NOT guarantee same day appointments. I guaranteed patients will be seen when they need to be seen and that may mean in a day or two
  7. Good Riddance! If they want to be seen exactly when they want to be seen, they can purchase all 600 of your available memberships. I feel like one of the reasons we are not calling ourselves Concierge docs is because that implies doing whatever our patients want, whenever our patients want. We offer direct (ie no administrative mazes, convoluted insurance American Ninja Warrior like courses) and personal care, not I’ll wipe your butt whenever you need it care. They’ve just created room for nicer patients for you, and you may be too full for them when they realize what they’ve given up!
  8. If we administratively try to accommodate the 10% who are too ignorant or too manipulative to understand the boundaries of what we’re doing our webpages would be 50 pages long and we d have 1 million. *. We too struggle with this but when I stop and think about it it’s a small number of people who honestly are passively aggressive and abusive in other ways also so when I have those conversations I just tell them the*stuff and I hope they go somewhere else .