Inside The Doctor's Office: Why is the Wait So Long?

Behind the scenes of a typical doctor's office visit with ABC News' Dr. Mark Abdelmalek.
26:19 | 11/11/15

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Inside The Doctor's Office: Why is the Wait So Long?
For ABC news did you know I'm doctor mark after Malick in Philadelphia at the Drexel university College of Medicine. We're taking you today behind the scenes of a busy doctor's office. We are in downtown Philadelphia. And casino Philadelphia is a city full of doctors there are five medical schools in Philadelphia alone. For them are walking distance from each other. We're here at Drexel internal medicine practice this is a primary care practice where patients from all over the region are seen. We're gonna go behind the scenes of a doctor's visit today with a patient who's in the waiting room we're about to get to him now. He is here for a follow up appointment his he's a former psychiatrist a he's well versed in medicine. And here is. Doctor Gartner I'd like you that just take a second we're gonna meet doctor Gartner. That's not doctor Gartner he read. I doctor Gartner are mrs. Gardner. Welcome to Drexel medicine is isn't your first time here right here. You've been on time so you're here today for a follow up visit with doctor Mays right mister OK and what kind of things he has talked about today. So let's see who's who list of things biggest the biggest. Set of issues. Related to my prostrate. Prostate cancer can move back in December when he's thirteen. An independent number sanctions and some treatment. Linda talks with us. And fast continues. I'm medical oncologists and it's. Okay Sierens. I blew it not that you know. We don't want -- to long life here in the weeding and make you had your appointment set for 1115 district we may have deleted a few minutes spent you know you're here in the waiting room we're gonna find out. All the things I have to happen. On the other side of that door so here is where. The action is this is the front desk behind me where to go back there and take a look and then will be back to see. The us open our New Zealand CNN. Anyway it is okay all right CNN. Let me there we go we're gonna go now. We're gonna go. Oh and how we're gonna go take a look behind. The front desk to see what happens. How all the paperwork that you get that gets you into an appoint. So we have here a few people at the front desk hi everybody I. And it's that Marianne right yes and terrain are you guys aren't being gate keepers for this office is that right. Our rights. Tell me what it takes to get a patient from that raid Ingram just over there to back into the doctor's what do kind of the steps that have to. Happen bits of hair high their insurance and make sure they're eligible this practice went to get an IT. He and hanging from where they need to complete. Facial other medications are updated OK doctor locates him. Try our. So what's what's a typical day like how many patients are you going through. And you know it's already around 1130 how many patients are you gonna be seeing. Today for example. So 25 to fifty patients will check into this front desk every day. Okay and just because we're we have this little cameo to the microphone over that you can ask you to speak up that degree. So tell me a little about the paperwork has happened you can you show me some examples of some paperwork that. That gets filled out. Home. You that's more a year cocaine as this is turning patient OK so there's lots of public boxes to check off lots of things that have to be. Cleared. Let us we have over here. Yeah we have eight. And let's check electronic cool to get me. Liturgical medical record release what this is is narrow hospitals are sending over medical records electronically. The purpose. If there isn't in the emergency. Ford did they are referred to a specialist that the standard for prisons outside to check so they could have been changed have been checks. OK so this is a way to make sure that all the doctors in the city. Are able to see an access the electronic record if they were seen of this office are not your office or what about you know when and other universities that possible for them to see as well. And they have the same system okay it was great. All right so we're gonna let you guys get back to it. And we're gonna go take a look at some of that business side of what happens in office and what makes everything plus that we back. All right so we're gonna go now. To take a look at. The office managers whose office here and she is gonna give us a sense. What it takes to run this place. I Jennifer. That there are excellent turn them and tracks senator Oltmanns out. All right so tell me. We were just told loaded up the paperwork and he had a stack here April were operating ready for me to see. Now the thing is I'm wondering is are we supposed to be an electronic health record we aren't as it is still a lot of people where. And this is very important paperwork for the patient's care let me get our case. Now a previous planning which shows a lot of the medically necessary test at a larger force. A flu shot cancer screenings for breast cancer colon rectal. Blood work such eight once he attacks her diabetes. So this is all very important information for patients to review cars and I'm seeing their position we also give them to medication and is interpreted you know. If they are unsure of something that are probable for where. And we have allowed our platforms with which do you deal wit. DD electronic medical records has found that they need to go over it was time giving us permission to communicate with other facilities electronically. OK so this is why it takes some time before your actually seen. To get back to the doctor correct so how much time when a patient typically wheat. And what's reasonable what's a reasonable amount of time for a patient to wait before they go back to see the doctor. Usually hear an internal medicine. About 1015 minutes in frustration injury insurance cards IDs on paperwork. Before he medical assistant comes out triage so just the front desk stuff alone takes about ten to fifteen that's her so we should. Plan for that so your point in time at 1130. Does that senior scene at 1130. Sometimes yes and patients with us some confidence he meant as part of your claiming to handle the paperwork okay RAI. Passed by act. Think I saw a lot of buzz of. Please relieve a lot of people answering phones. And taking calls and it. It seemed to be is an of the nerve center can you show me now on I'm our cases are thought OK let's look at that. We. Won't let this giant trash can here. That is actually are confidential travelers. Oh. Okay prisons and recently. Companies cob and comes out of Tacoma so when she presenting an air sky its strategies all right that's a pretty big. You know we turtle creek channel OK let's take a look at the nurse diner this office. Oh. A race and we're now walking. And we're gonna take a look at. Room this operation. CNET decorations revolved. Did that you know our office that we re decorating hear him how many people work here we have over thirty members here where some thirty members just in this one are just doesn't pop as which consists of physicians and that's okay let's take a shark. Happening again. That's location counts as our patients or their representatives. Which answer phone calls not only for internal medicine for the department OK so all of that internal medicine all of the department of medicine come cars. Are filtered in through this area is that right. OK and who we have here. A I don't know Williams your buyers aliens what do you do here include robberies men for the department medicine. No oversee our basic services OK so so many went. What kind of things we can learn about displays only we have a bunch cute little art scene you can see how people work in this. We have. And ten people people. Please okay as we got into we add some color coded word to me got some charts on the law where all these things look this is their stances stats for the month of August September and October and when it does is shows how many calls we received east ma I mean calls that we drop and give his will recall. Percentage Rick an enemy pretty. OK we so in my reading this correctly I see a lot of numbers here but it. We're we're we're we're a month earlier October. So in October you had 161000. Policies did 161000 calls and what it does here this gives a break down to every division within the department medicine which was scheduled. Has received for internal medicine. Congress goes on between these calls 121000 cost one apartments 3000 calls when nobody does a lot of calls I mean isn't phone ringing. Constantly constantly all do we actually began to you we were from eight to five. Weeks to an Aaron opt Ridnour was restarted 730 in the bottom third and then took comedy. Okay ends and you answer some of these causes it Sylvia yet easily as Sylvia come because of the answer today already taken forty horses that. Forty calls and what are they for people who want. Appointments. Four scheduling a witness canceling. Our patients that seemingly was my com. It easier to implement. And trying to see if their friendlies. Okay but. All right so he's just a constant stream of phone calls only what happens if I Sam call on con and I'm going to be late what are you telling usually I tell you that that's an increase and I can also. Practice to see if yours okay we. So and getting the sense from the office manager Jennifer and buyer and Ansonia any everybody's very time sensitive and focused on what it takes to get a patient in and out and mean fifteen minute grace periods are talking about how many. Calls are. Are answered on time who gets an appointment after the phone call on the look more portion of your day is dedicated and how much thought are you giving into this how much planning goes into this. Well we have concentrating Constance training and development and witnesses services he's an excellent because our primary goal is the basics here. And rear and calls all of the audience and you may be patient as we can to help them to service their needs. OK you know let's check in with doctor Gartner and see where he's at in this process of these had a chance to see doctor may and August of army seen all these people we have yet to see that the woman of the hour doctor made it to the patients here is seasonal thing Sylvia welcome all right Larry Estonia they aren't there and Bubba. Yeah. We'll see you. On the other side maybe okay. So we're actually going to be taking it back or gonna walk through the clinic this is another doctor he works here at activist Patrick. She is another primary care doctor. So this is the doctor airing this is the back area where the doctors have all the offices. We're gonna see here this is a doctor workstation and actually issued as we can see Dr. Manny here. She's about to take a patient phone calls organ return minute and we'll be back he can hear her talking to a patient. The let's go find out where doctor Gartner is right now act pleasantly lesson here. Actually this is our medication clouds our sample closet. Armistice or perhaps to bring in samples for the positions again now that it's okay. And then we got some looks like we have what's over here. Our car. He's an. Extra pressure okay. Is there a lab here at least we have a Nancy. Actress quirk it. Allow OK to patients come here. Isn't really his game up girls. You know lies this group awesome each quarter OK. So is this where I would get blood drawn is rarely get a shot at yes I'll get a shot Canada's here at and we are saying they are on an effort during her let's take a look at. Okay you're all of our immunizations OK thank you see can't figure caught you know your luncheon here anything out. I had always say no food and drink OK and down here and down here we have medication samples are important for patients. And we did the glucose tolerance. OK all right so this is the lab where after the patients seemed that a doctor this is when you come parent. So let's go back and take a look and find doctor Gartner so this here. Our. Let's see them medical assistance how I. I'm going to carry you don't. Say. This as a doctor met sorry what's your name means and he so what are you doing now doctors may not Burmese day. Keep moving room. Until Haitians that. Tying. Act immediately clear the titles. I talked to I think feel what's going on. That way can you turn up information just in case against somewhere yet principles as you try to get a sense of the patient's nervous. Anxiousness. Common sense you get those loser doctor act. That. I can't neglect and definitely. RNC a patient's back here now yes you can only see an empty examine maybe. OK actually see this. Okay says one of our smaller one OK Larry I hear every you know your blood pressure copier his I was. The other everything electronic these days using no patient chart it's just off. The only time record okay that you know typical exam rounds. Where doctor Macy's patients here right yes OK I'm and is it is she had occasion coming up doctor gardeners are a smoking and we Ayers William. Doctor Gartner where's doctor Gardner. And he's immigrant. Right. That theoretically demand. OK so your back. OK so you're back. And you're backed him and he brought some company has right here make sure he doesn't true. And so is who's news here. He OK and you say he's a complicated case and if personality or an honest that effect. It's honest OK so you haven't seen NBC doctor man not yet not yet senior waiting to be seen you'll drop back by a medical assistant you know. So how long did you end up waiting before you were brought back. Why else. It's hands. Minutes that's great again a class on that yes indeed so are you typically nervous to confident doctor are you. Relief to come to the doctor what are your thoughts in the morning you wake up and you say that's anything in medicine doctor met my wife chase it around the rules because in schools Meehan. Now it's goofy going to be coming to you. Com. It's Angela through routine track work ticketed yet. Clinton's visit and it's just an intensive review it and reviewed all bidding socially speaking. Very angry and bill O you. Okay are there ever things that you're nervous to ask her things that you wish. After you left that you wish he would have asked me enter your doctor and sometimes they say doctors make the worst patients is that true do you are you pretty forthcoming with her were far better than any other patients I see it happen happening over here. West that as harmful easy well. Positions and I think there's a tendency. At least on the part of some positions to be on doctors and we try not to do that. You know what that position are you. Rheumatologist that you're joint doctor and doctor Gardner this doctor garner what kind of position you're retired psychiatrist retired psychiatrist okay. So doctor maybe we're just. Africa on an instant view and only about just take this honor we realize who's picking up the phone talking a patient and as a doctor myself. I know that happened you know seeing patients isn't just face to face contact and some emails he got to answer there's charts you gotta write your phone calls the united today. So I think that's why it's just a little little pasta I check honor. Maybe get a gun and Zia from all right we'll be back a minute okay okay so here's he has here's doctor may. Hi doctor may. That are sorry to interrupt here I'm busy clank. We wanted to get a sense of what it's like it is to see a primary care doctor and we already met doctor Gartner here. So when we interrupted you're there you're about ticket patient phone call also is ass off that you're doing all the time. Volatile and if you can. OK so. Just in the interest hit quote or yeah secluded area. Right so hip just so everybody knows I'm sure pretty much people are familiar with it but that's the privacy laws. And we taken a lot of effort here today to make sure that we haven't shown you any other patients who haven't agreed. I'm and the idea is that when you come to the doctor it's a safe place I mean this is where you're here to talk openly with your doctor without. The fear of anybody else you know sleeping on your medical business. Doctor mate you have allegations that. Today I have maybe fifteen or sixteen patient's abdomen news follow ups and some of them are urgent. OK Ali we have some video here behind me we'll get her anything who's this. Hitler you get the Rio. Actually. Happy. And her OK so we're actually here at Drexel which is a teaching institution like I said there are five medical schools in Philadelphia this is just one of them. And she is a doctor in training learning the ropes from doctor may. I had this. Back seat actors aren't so tell me you see if you're gonna see fifteen or sixteen patients today do you know who's coming in advance. Look schedule and it is patients' names but I don't know why they're coming OK so average patient as a surprise every patients a surprise so. Now in addition to see them fifteen or sixteen patient today. EUR what what else happens I mean it's not just that face to face time because you're not in with them. All the time what other kind of things are you doing so in between patients get phone calls on that doctors are seeing patients for example the phone call. That I was taking acres. Try to come and let's a physician who has seen one of my patients who you know what the next steps were okay. OK I mean how many phone calls do you take a day. That is. 840. But to twice the number of patients absolutely yes OK what about I know downstairs that one of the first things I do and I get an in the morning as I. Go on my so called task lists which is our. Our eye doctors to do list do you have tasks that you need to do you react faster to get up until 5 o'clock. Our hands. Are pretty diligent about getting all the tasks done. They asked as they just keep coming out of seeing patients. More patients are caught in what kinds of things are in the task lists anything. Like medication renewals. Referrals or recommendations and suggestions for. Doctors in Ecstasy prescriptions but mammograms X race. And it's just something you. So how much. How much of your time. Does it take. That news duties things mean what percentage is patient care what percentages. You know all these other administrative things. It's O depends if the schedule is relatively. Light. Then I'll have time to do the phone calls in between but sometimes it all has to wait until lunch the lunch hour. Which we don't really get because we're working through it calling Haitians back. And that sometimes it's after hours. We should stay in document for two hours and obligations back to get everything done. You mentioned blanch do you get lunch and were approaching the lunch hour ambulance and no doubt that's okay many of reserves. I am sorry so I don't think he'd be too much trauma doctor Gartner facility let's you are going to be easy Garrity on an OK yeah. They are trying to follow you out are you going tips. It's okay all right somebody gonna last. Rates have gone back. So what was this area every year after mainly. What happens in this MD station so here my medical assistance and see what orders up an infant patients weren't. She's in room nine. And bringing her how to go home theater to the last get blood drawn into yet the shock token. All right so you're going in now nice going it. We'll see this happening. LT SM yellow traffic jam here. Our engines and I do. Daryn Israeli Hezbollah doctors and Atlanta mayor and equipment made permanent. Today. Come. Here. There any doubt that. All right we're trying to be a little quiet here this is an actual lives. You know patient and viewing session so. We're gonna just be a fly on the wall the. Are you. True. And if. Certain as well worth. All right yes you are going to be the patient and I mean give you guys a little bit of practicing and are you thanks for having yes I get the store. Or it. What do. All right so we left that area. Here in the rim I think she just doctor may have another patient that was seen. Who today and we also reaches the community here she actually already in her her where she she courtroom. Negotiator. So alright. So we're right next door. I'm week. On Friday. I miss land. I'm mark out and out right here on ABC news did you know. Banks Purdue and SI senior here to see doctor may you already saw document. And you're here because. Larry easy inducted. Communities look at these top. Time this. Shared. He. It sound like pressure Alice. Oh well let's. You learn again but you know what he's not listening when she said it was good enough. Okay see your blood pressure it our way what you say enough that. Okay I'll gain access not the same OK your blood pressure and yet you are right. And how will visit overall are you glad it's over you nerves are honing typically what's it like when you see up to me. Oh. And how long it and seen there. He's. You know the game a few years. And you haven't had any major issues that are there things that you are nervous about telling doctor here. Com. Okay aren't what was written that you've runner president yeah. You will we really surprises what's and the president al-Qaeda thinking capacity. Edible arrangements yet. All right well thank you so much and where letting us stop in and keeping it on your visit out right have a good day. All right. So there you have it that was a life. View behind the scenes at a doctor's office he saw the front desk that nerve Saturday control room and what it's like to be patient here. So with ABC news digital I'm doctor market and Alexy next time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"26:19","description":"Behind the scenes of a typical doctor's office visit with ABC News' Dr. Mark Abdelmalek.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Health","id":"35132734","title":"Inside The Doctor's Office: Why is the Wait So Long?","url":"/Health/video/inside-doctors-office-wait-long-35132734"}