These days, stories like Eisenstodt’s are increasingly common. Patients — and physicians — say they feel the time crunch as never before as doctors rush through appointments as if on roller skates to see more patients and perform more procedures to make up for flat or declining reimbursements.
It’s not unusual for primary care doctors’ appointments to be scheduled at 15-minute intervals. Some physicians who work for hospitals say they’ve been asked to see patients every 11 minutes.
And the problem may worsen as millions of consumers who gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act begin to seek care — some of whom may have seen doctors rarely, if at all, and have a slew of untreated problems.
“Doctors have one eye on the patient, and one eye on the clock,” said David Rothman, who studies the history of medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.