A letter of complaint, and the reply from our SVP for Ambulatory Services. Fully justifiable complaint, and the right kind of answer: Not defensive, respectful of the patient and her niece, and with a promise of appropriate follow-up. With 500,000 ambulatory visits per year, we cannot necessarily expect perfection each time, but we keep trying. This kind of letter is really helpful to us in finding holes in our service. It supplements our mystery shopper program and patient satisfaction surveys.
Dear Mr. Levy,
I have an 84 year old aunt with a slow moving lymphoma and have been bringing her from New Jersey, where she lives, to an oncologist at BIDMC, who she likes very much. This past Wednesday we had an appointment at 11 a.m. We had not even been called to an examining room by 1:00, at which point I had to insist to a somewhat annoyed person in the reception area that we page the nurse. As a result, by 12:40, the nurse had examined my aunt.
Still we waited for the doctor, who we had seen in the halls of the clinic a number of times since we'd arrived. At 1:40 I finally had to leave my aunt in the examining room, because I had to get to a 2:15 appointment at work. I arranged for my husband to pick her up when she called to say she was ready. Later I found out that the doctor had not seen my aunt until after 2:30.
The reason I accompany my aunt to her appointments is that she does not remember things well and this time she didn't either, including when she should make her next appointment and when to stop her current medicine. She did say the doctor told her something about patients who were late that morning which accounted for the wait. This might have made the event somewhat palatable except for the fact that we have always waited at least two hours and sometimes three for this doctor, whom we have seen about five times.
This time, booking six weeks ahead, I tried to get an early appointment but they were all booked for the week. I am not surprised. I'm sure you'd agree that something is wrong with this picture, and I wanted you to know.
Thanks for reading.
On behalf of the Oncology Clinic, I apologize for your Aunt's delay in this visit and all her other visits. I also am sorry it impacted your schedule, too. As you are aware, we are very busy, but it is no excuse for this type of delay with this physician nor the clinic.
It seems from your email that this happens as a regular process for this doctor. I will follow up with my directors, and they will get in touch with you to get any additional information and share with you our current plans to improve the flow and physician's time/efficiency in the clinic.
As well, the next time you and your Aunt are here, I would like to pick up your parking and lunch if I may. I will work that out also via my directors.
Again, my sincere apologies, and I look forward to hearing your next visit is a quick and ON TIME one!