Recently I had a medical test at a community hospital with free guest wireless, and I accomplished all sorts of work while waiting. The somewhat invasive procedure was fairly quick but with a longer wait than expected. However, I barely noticed. When I arrived back at my job, I had done so much work at the hospital that it felt like I had hardly been away.
Juxtapose this with waiting, as I recently did, at a physician’s office for over two hours because his surgery took longer than expected. Now, I happen to know that he is a great surgeon, so I don’t mind that he’s late to my routine appointment. But I do mind that the office does not have wireless so that I cannot be productive. Or, if the office could have let me know beforehand, I’d have been happy to remain at work and arrive for the scheduled appointment an hour later.
The managers at the hospital understand that my time is important. Why can’t all doctor’s offices and hospitals stop trivializing our time? Patients lose an incredible amount — a significant issue for young and old, but especially for workers paid by the hour and adult children who take time off to accompany an aging parent to a medical appointment.
If you feel like me, read The High Cost of Waiting, a May 31, 2012 Baltimore Sun article by Ritu Agarwal, a professor at the University of Maryland. The author describes how much time and productive energy we all lose waiting at doctor’s offices. I share her frustration, but I want to add hospitals to the list. Continue reading