"Hello, Dr. Fisher this Dr. Schmo. I have a special (friend, patient, secretary - insert your title here) that I'd like to see you but your next new patient appointment is in about 2-3 months. Could you see him/her sooner?"
It's a call that's becoming increasingly common.
In the past, this was a request that was fairly easy to fulfill for a friend. But this week this has already happened three times. I wonder (a) how many times I can realistically expand my clinic hours and (b) how many follow-up patients I'll soon stop seeing to make room for the masses as pressure to see more people in less time continues and (c) how many patients will use this approach to leverage access to health care?
The days of long-term relationships between patients and subspecialists seem to rapidly be coming to an end - our new model increasingly rewards proceduralists.
But such an approach is not without its consequences. Doctors and patients both lose when we lose closure with our patients.