So here are three imperfect solutions that I have come up with:
- Just run late—Honestly, I'm not good at this one. My patients expect to see their doctor on time (since I'm usually on time). But every once in a while, it good to throw efficiency into the wind, take a deep breath, and truly enjoy looking at Mrs. Jone's photo album of her pet pig (true story).
- Schedule 30 minute appointments—I judiciously set up 30 minute appointments. They offer a breather for me with complicated followup visits. But obviously, if I set up too many 30 minute appointments, I will not be able to pay for the overhead of our office.
- Split up the visit—I do this especially if the patient has multiple complicated medical problems. I often feel like a heel for doing it. But patients are generally understanding.
Other than those three tips, I can honestly say that I don't know how to increase my DPCFT. People are constantly complaining about how the U.S. medical system is broken. And from my perspective, the most broken aspect of medicine is that I have so little time with my patients. In a traditional practice, doctor who only see 2 patients an hour get themselves fired for being unproductive or bankrupt for not meeting their overhead. It's a strange predicament that we are in.