From the article:
Change cannot come too soon for irate patients like Howard Levine of Boca Raton, Fla., who endured a two-hour wait before storming out of a vascular surgeon’s office.
“I was in the restaurant business for 20 years, and if I made you wait in a restaurant for two hours, you would be pretty upset,” Mr. Levine said. “We’re not coming there for social visits. We’re coming because something is wrong.”
August 22, 2005
There is lots of room for improvement on waiting times for doctors, but silly analogies like this are as self-deceiving and distracting as comparing electronic health records to cash machines. People care whether they see a particular doctor. If they didn’t it would make perfect sense to run a medical practice like a restaurant.
One way to improve the situation is to make it easier to charge patients for missed appointments. A major reason for overbooking is holes in the schedule from no-shows. One could pair this with offering free visits to patients who would agree to be bumped, but if something goes wrong in the meantime the doctor bears a huge malpractice risk that airlines don’t have to figure in.
The article does not mention another problem that doctors wrestle with: how to reduce delays in getting an outpatient visit appointment.
Overall it is a shallow article that overlooks the complexities of an issue where progress can be made, but not by shallow thinkers.