What Human Doctors Can Learn From Vets

Doctor and patient

I hear it all the time: “Why can't my physician be more like my veterinarian?”

Plenty of my clients say that they wish they could get the same treatment as their pets get. And while I certainly wouldn't want a veterinarian treating my family's ills, as a consumer of human health care in the U.S., I absolutely get where they're coming from.

Here are some reasons my clients cite for wanting vet-style care instead of the standard human variety:

Vets Offer More Face Time

So many physicians now schedule appointments every 10 to 15 minutes that it seems you’re being shuttled in and out in no time, leaving you in a confused blur half the time. Most veterinarians, on the other hand, schedule one appointment every half-hour to make room for potential emergencies that might come in.

Tolerable Waits

Speaking of time, the average wait to see a doctor nationwide was 23 minutes in 2010 — or so physicians say. My own doctor visit wait times here in Miami are seldom under 40 minutes, except at the dentist. The average wait time for my patients is almost always under five minutes. It’s the upside to not scheduling one patient every 10 minutes.

There Are No Hidden Costs

When was the last time that your physician discussed the cost of a hospital procedure? Even if you asked, most doctors wouldn’t even know how to answer that question. All they do tend to know is how little they’re being reimbursed for it because many of the costs involve funny little line items that hospitals and outpatient facilities add to your bill. I’m not saying that the veterinary method is flawless, but when it comes to financial transparency, ours is an undeniably superior system.

There's No Approval Process to Negotiate

The third party provider system means that you often have to suffer through a seemingly endless and frustratingly Byzantine process involving claim forms and lots of telephone time. Veterinarians, however, offer a simpler system; even our approach to pet health insurance is streamlined. The reimbursement model may not be right for everyone, but one slip of paper per event is a better way to do things. And you never have to haggle over copays!


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