The doctor will see you now, but only for 5 minutes

"40 patients a day"

That's the new goal set forth for the doctors and mid-level providers employed by a local "big box" healthcare system.  "Keep your patient encounters to a maximum of 5 minutes"

5 minutes?  Really?

5 minutes to introduce themselves (because you are unlikely to see the same "provider" each time), listen to your story of what brought you to the office, exam you, formulate a diagnosis, make treatment recommendations and answer any questions you may have in addition to discussing any treatment options.

Crazy....absolutely crazy!

What if:

  1. you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or high cholesterol and need help getting your condition under control?
  2. you have more than 1 question or want to know all your treatment options?
  3. you have a mole that might represent skin cancer?
  4. you have an urgent issue that needs to be addressed?

I suspect the answer (because the doctor or mid-level provider only has 5 minutes) is:

  1. "schedule another appointment"
  2. "go search the are some websites to look at"
  3. "I'll refer you to another doctor for that"
  4. "this is too much for me to address in an office visit, so I'm going to send you to the Emergency Department"

5 minute "rule"?  Yeah, we don't like that so much and we suspect patients won't either.