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Do We Really Need Our Patients to Arrive 15 Minutes Early?

Daniel Paull MD asks whether we really need our patients to arrive 15 minutes early, since they end up waiting anyways.

February 12, 2024

“Please arrive to your appointment 15 minutes early, so that you can fill out paperwork.”

This is a common ask among most medical offices.

They want their patients to get there early so they can fill out their paperwork so the doctor does not get delayed.

If it’s the first few patients of the day, then I get it. Some patients take a very long time to fill out paperwork, and it would delay the day and then everything would get behind.

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But what about the middle of the day, when the doctor is running 45 minutes behind?

Do you still want your patients getting in early to fill out paperwork?

That will just add 15 minutes more they will have to wait.

The paperwork will at least keep them occupied so a 45 minute wait feels like a 30 minute wait.

If a doctor runs chronically behind, perhaps the office should not ask their patients to get there early at all.

Sometimes the docs run behind for the first patient!

I don’t ever have my patients arrive early to do paperwork, and am almost never more than 5 minutes behind.

I just book the patients for longer and let the paperwork eat into the visit.

That way they have already met me and are already in a room.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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