This subject has been on my mind since returning from the first visit to a new internist's practice. This doctor has been highly recommended by others of our treating doctors, by nurses at our regular hospital, and even by home care workers. Perhaps I expected too much based on the laudable recommendations.
I was surprised by the office layout, very perfunctory, impersonal, contemporary steel styling, hardwood floors which I think were exotic woods (based on a description by a friend who knows these things), and no decorations in the treating rooms. Bare essentials only, like a house someone had just moved into but hadn't yet unpacked.
The reception area had the apparently obligatory tv tuned to some revolting program with a woman discussing men stripping down for some kind of contest or whatever (I blocked out as much as I could but had forgotten to bring my ear protectors). The office was glassed in, the staff kept the windows closed and didn't have to listen to the garbage on tv.
The office itself was bare as well. (This is an established practice, not a new one with financial assets yet to be established).
In the1/2 hour it took to fill out the new forms (they were online but Norton advised the site was questionable, so I opted not to download the forms), there were at least 5 people who come for appointments and left, during that short time.
When my father became cold and I told the NP, then the front office staff that I was going out to my car to get a blanket for him, they just nodded. And sat there. Of the 3 to whom I said this, not one of them offered to get a blanket for him.
This surprised me. It wouldn't have happened at our cardiologist's office, or some of our other doctors, whose staff react quickly to accommodate an older patient.
Thinking it over, I realized that the only ones in "uniform" were the one NP we saw; the doctor was dressed nicely but no lab coat; the office staff were VERY casually dressed, as if they might be just working around the house. In fact I wasn't even sure they were staff b/c most of them had long stringy hair and such casual clothing.
I wouldn't have put all this together if I hadn't felt that we were being added to a recycling list of patients, advised that we'd have to come back more than a few times to address all the issues, even though this was a longer "new" appointment.
All this started a memory of some of the best medical offices I've seen. One is a podiatrist's office with multiple paintings, several beautiful nature ones done by one of the partner's mothers. The front office is in soothing colors, nothing stark, but rather quite welcoming. The staff is probably in their 40's or 50's, all very professional, as are all the nurses and support staff.
Another was an OB-GYN office done in pastels, and a very soothing atmosphere.
Although this doctor yesterday was highly recommended, I felt that his reputation was disjunctive with the stark setting of the office, and began to lose a bit of confidence in that practice. Perhaps this isn't fair, but I just didn't feel comfortable there.
Does anyone else experience this? Comparing the office environment and staff support and drawing conclusions based on the presence or lack of it?
I don't want to be prejudiced, but I just had the feeling we were just another cog on a rapidly spinning wheel.